In the most recent fatal shooting by Portland police, of an attacker who reportedly fired a shotgun at two policemen on a parking structure roof, two uncontrolled streams run together.
The death of mentally ill people at the hands of police — sometimes called “suicide by cop” — is an unnerving trend throughout the country. It’s sometimes unclear what options police have, especially if the figure is armed and attacking. But it’s been enough of a problem for Portland police that last September a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found the department showed a “pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness.”
But Santiago A. Cisneros III, who died of the wounds he received Monday night, had a particular problem. He was an Iraq war veteran featured in a Seattle TV documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder. “I fought a war back there in Iraq,” he told the camera. “I didn’t know I was going to have to fight a war back here in the United States within myself.”
Thousands and thousands have returned or will return from combat,and PTSD is more pervasive — and serious — than we like to think. Service and veteran suicide rates are at scary levels.
It’s a failure on multiple levels if PTSD flows into suicide by cop.