[posted on Indymedia Rochester] 3/7/06

Equality and Justice for All

The Thompson family, Faith Alliance God’s Holy Outreach Ministries, International Socialist Organization, Friends Helping Friends, and the community

Attn: To the Community and the Media

In regards to: A sit-in at the Rochester Police Department

Date: 3/10/06

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Location: The RPD Headquarters on Exchange Street

To Whom It May Concern:

Can you imagine seeing your mother, who has a known history of mental illness, being gunned down in front of you by a police that your family was hoping would handle an emotional disturbed person different than a normal case. Unfortunately, this is the case for the late Patricia Thompson’s family, who was killed by a rookie cop late last Thursday night. As it stands, our position is, the coalition of organizations as well as faith leaders are wondering why the acting Chief Tim Hickey felt so anxious to justify an officer killing a 55-year-old mental patient. Now that the family is speaking out and community activists are questioning where was the EDPR team, which was implemented for situations such as this, suddenly the Chief goes into hiding with no comments.

There was a training through the RPD, which I was asked to come to, for the Emotional Disturbed Persons Response Team in December and was told in writing that 11 more officers were being added to the team designed to train officers not to kill mental distraught patients but to get them safely to treatment. I turned the class down in December of 2005 because I was sick at the time. This team previously had 42 members but now has 55 so why wasn’t any one of them called to a known disturbed woman’s house who the RPD in the past has subdued until the proper medical help came to escort Mrs. Thompson to the hospital?

In addition, we have tried to collaborate in the past with the RPD requesting an independent clergy ride-along program for which we had funders in place only requesting an endorsement from the RPD. The few organizations involved explained in 07/05 how we would be intervention, avoiding another mental person being killed because of the negligence of inexperienced police officers who panic from lack of training. I myself called the ex-acting Chief, emailed and faxed him. We had meetings with the previous Mayor, stressing the vitalness of our proposal and were ignored. Now we must make the officials hear our pleas for justice and equality for all on Friday in our peaceful sit-in.

Sincerely, Activist Rev. Joy Powell-Weh