By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Two police officers safely de-escalated a volatile situation the afternoon of Nov. 9 when a man suffering from a mentally breakdown ran screaming into the police station lobby and acted in a physically destructive manner.
The man’s screams immediately drew the attention of nearby police officers, who saw the man lifting lobby chairs, which he then threw to the ground, and saw him self-harm by running into a wall with enough force to collapse onto the floor.
While he was acting out physically, the man was shouting obscenities and racial slurs, while threatening to kill and shoot the court employees in the shared lobby.
Detective Sgt. Ken Groat, who heard the screams from an upstairs office, rushed to the lobby, as did Lt. Neil Hunter, with both arriving as the man begged the police officers to shoot him.
The two officers quickly restrained the man, and walked him into the booking area, where they were gradually able to calm him.
After speaking with him and learning his background, the officers decided to send him to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, where a family member was notified of his intended admission.
The officers decided not to charge him with disturbing the peace.
Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton said Hunter and Groat did an “amazing” job of de-escalating the situation without the use of force.
“The officers were able to recognize the key signs of emotional distress,” he said. “As a result, they were able to effectively manage the man, who was experiencing an emotional crisis, without long term consequences, such as incarceration or injury.”
Hamilton said the officers showed outstanding discretion by not turning the situation into a criminal matter, and instead helping ensure the man received immediate mental health treatment.
“It is a misconception that officers lack the training to properly handle people in crisis, and are quick to use unnecessary force,” Hamilton said. “That simply is not the case. This situation more accurately represents how police officers everywhere handle these types of critical situations in comparison to the seldom times they use force.”