A Discussion of Recent Efforts to Remove Police from Mental Health Emergency Calls through Litigation, as well As On-Going Legislative and Community Advocacy for Establishment of Peer-Led Crisis Response Systems

Ruth Lowenkron, Esq., and Marinda van Dalen, Esq., of the Disability Justice Program at the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), and Evelyn Graham Nyaasi, of Community Access and Correct Crisis Intervention Today - NYC (CCIT-NYC)

In this workshop, the panelists will discuss recent efforts to remove police from mental health emergency calls through litigation, as well as ongoing legislative and community advocacy for the establishment of peer-led crisis response systems.

Ruth Lowenkron and Marinda van Dalen of the Disability Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest represent a class of New Yorkers with lived mental health experience challenging New York’s “Emotionally Disturbed Person’s Policy”--a policy that enables police officers to respond to mental health emergencies. Rather than calling for increased training within the existing police-based paradigm, their recent lawsuit, Baerga v. City of New York, calls for the removal of police from these calls and the creation of voluntary, communitybased supports.

Lowenkron and van Dalen will be joined on the panel by one of the organizational plaintiffs involved in the litigation, as well as a peer advocate working to advance non-police, peer-led crisis response in New York City.

This workshop hopes to provide:

  • Insights on legal strategies to limit police involvement in mental health response
  • Ideas for legislative and policy advocacy to transform municipal responses to crises
  • Perspectives on local advocacy for peer-based mental health crisis services

Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response -- information and resources from NYLPI's campaign

CCIT-NYC -- Correct Crisis Intervention Today -- Fighting to Transform Responses to Mental Health Crises

PRESS RELEASE: Coalition Sues Mayor de Blasio for Failing to Provide a Safe, Non-Police Response to New Yorkers Experiencing Mental Health Crises | HTML | PDF |

Establishing a Non-Police Response to Mental Health Crises: The Needless Killing of Miguel Richards by NYC Police, a discussion focused on the problems with police response to mental health crises and the need for reform; moderated by Marinda Van Dalen, with Tim Black, of CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), Rojini Haar, and Christina Sparrock. A NYLPI - NARPA Webinar; November 2020.

Rights-Based Alternatives to Police Response for Mental Health Crises -- A Worldwide Perspective, a discussion of alternatives to current methods of police response to mental health crises and strategies to implement non-police responses; moderated by Ruth Lowenkron, with Christina Sparrock, Peter Stastny, Ana Florence, and Rachel Bromberg. A NYLPI - NARPA Webinar; November 2020.