Speakers recount the teamwork that safely ended the 6pm deadlock in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – A mental health call in Minneapolis this week that lasted eighteen hours ended peacefully thanks to real patience and teamwork.
It was a long one, starting Monday night near the Nicollet shopping center and spanning the following afternoon, but all three people involved in the situation say it was worth it.
When the teams first arrived on Monday, they found a young woman who was in an apartment eight stories above the ground and threatened to jump. Family members told Minneapolis Police the woman was in a total crisis, with mental health and drug use taken into account.
“She was screaming and screaming that she wanted to kill herself,” said Lt. Kelly O’Rourke of the MPD. “She was throwing all the contents of her apartment out the window.”
But then the police realized that she was armed and they feared in her condition that she could start shooting.
“She comes to the window with a gun,” Lt. O’Rourke recalled. “Now we are dealing with an armed suspect. Prior to that, our officers had attempted to enter through a door. She threatened them with a gun. We had to step back and hold the perimeter. “
Minneapolis Police immediately backed down to settle in for what would end up being 18 hours of patience, conversation and negotiation.
“These types of situations require constant analysis,” Deputy Chief Erick Fors said. “It’s a constant balance between the risk to public safety, the risk to the person, the risk to the officers.”
Her behavior escalated, defused, and then escalated again as she began to light fires inside her apartment. Firefighters were dispatched to help as officers waited for hours outside the building and in a 100-degree hallway to make sure she, neighbors and the community were safe. With this, MPD also worked with the family and appealed to community groups A Mother’s Love and We Push for Peace.
By mid-morning, with MPD and A Mother’s Love, family members finally convinced her to open the door, unsure if she would shoot or what would happen. They entered a chaotic situation.
“They were trying to keep her from spitting and biting people and she grabbed the rag and she put it on her neck and we were trying to get the rag around her neck and she squeezed my hand and didn’t didn’t want to let go. ”said Donesther Anderson with A Mother’s Love.
The woman was eventually overpowered and taken for help. Everyone was safe and everyone agrees that the teamwork brought a peaceful end.
“We cannot talk enough about our partnerships with our community groups who are ready to support us and help us, to come up with alternative solutions,” said Deputy Chief Fors.
“True community partnership is not just MPD and it’s not just community outreach and it’s not just the neighbors,” Anderson added. “It’s all of us involved together to make sure there is a peaceful resolution.”
Police receive more than 5,000 calls per year to respond to emotionally disturbed people. This one was long but we are told the result is not unusual. They almost always call in partners to help end the situation safely.