A Portland, Oregon police officer shot and killed a mentally ill Black man on Sunday in a situation where his family said the cops should have suspected that he had mental health issues.
He was reportedly armed with a knife when the cop shot him. It’s unclear what—if any—de-escalation techniques the officer used.
Relatives identified the 36-year-old man as Andre Catrel Gladen on Tuesday, adding that he was legally blind and on medication for bipolar disorder, the Oregonian reported.
“Why would he fall asleep at someone’s front door? This dude wasn’t looking to hurt anybody. … Instead of just getting help for the person, they just kill him,” Gladen’s twin brother Fonte Gladen said.
Fonte Gladen explained that his brother lost an eye at least five years ago from a gunshot to the head. He also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had been in and out of hospitals.
Gladen appears to be the latest in a long list of mentally ill African-American men killed by police who failed to use de-escalation techniques in a violent encounter. In December, officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed Jarvis Randal, who was armed with a piece of glass, in a Florida mental health facility.
In October, sheriff’s deputies in San Mateo County, California were accused of using excessive force to apprehend Chinedu Valentine Okobi who had been walking in and out of traffic. Two deputies tasered Okobi multiple times to subdue and place him in handcuffs. His family said he was suffering from mental illness.
Gladen, a California resident who was visiting relatives in Portland, walked out of his cousin’s apartment about 7 a.m. on Sunday and said he would be back, according to his family.
At about 1 p.m. that same day, he showed up at a stranger’s home, without shoes on, and knocked on the door, according to news reports.
He told the woman who answered the door that someone named “Ernest” told him to go there for help because someone was trying to kill him. She refused to let him, and Gladen eventually decided to go to sleep on the porch.
The woman reportedly called the police. Gladen ran inside the house when the officer arrived. He struggled with the cop when the officer tried to handcuff him. At some point, the officer fired a Taser at Gladen and later fatally shot him when Gladen pulled a knife.
“I was in the womb with that guy. That’s my best friend. I feel empty, lost, confused,’’ Fonte Gladen said of his brother.