Thursday, June 25, 2020 - Fountain House today released the following statement from President and CEO, Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, in conjunction with CCIT-NYC, regarding police violence against people living with mental illness in New York City:
"On Sunday night, George Zapantis - a person with mental illness - was killed in a confrontation with the NYPD. This now makes 16 people total from the mental health community, in the last 5 years, who have needlessly died at the hands of police in our City. This tragedy highlights, yet again, the ways in which law enforcement criminalizes mental illness and causes harm to our communities. Police should not be responding to people in crisis and should be replaced with special, peer-driven mental health teams that offer critical services and compassionate care. We join our colleagues at CCIT-NYC in calling on our local elected officials to address this tragedy and others like it by allocating funding this week in the NYC Budget to address this dangerous intersection of policing and mental illness. We can’t afford to wait any longer for action."