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SURPRISE!

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Subway Suspect’s Past Allegedly Includes Mental Health Problems, Violence

Long before she was accused of pushing a Queens man to his death on the subway tracks, Erika Menendez was arrested at least twice on misdemeanor charges related to violence and had a history of family members calling police to report erratic behavior related to her mental health, a law-enforcement official said.

Over the past 12 years, police have records of 14 encounters with Ms. Menendez, 31 years old, who has been charged with murder as a hate crime in last Thursday’s subway death. In at least four of those instances, the official said, Ms. Menendez’s mother, Maricela Mera, told police that Ms. Menendez had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, an illness marked by extreme shifts in mood, and was acting violently.

OK, I lied. This is not a surprise at all and I predicted it in a post on Saturday when she was arrested. Read the entire article because it details her criminal justice history and repeated failure to take her medications. New York has a law on the books allowing the state to compel people diagnosed with mental illness to take their medications. “Kendra’s Law” has been on the books since 1999. There’s a procedure for compelling someone to take their medications and I wonder if the suspect was ever subject to it’s provisions?

This should be getting a lot more press coverage than it is, but since firearms weren’t involved, I guess it’s not an important enough death. No doubt if she shot the victim, this would be a bigger story. If she shot several, we’d hear the usual suspects screaming for a new law.

Maybe we should just concentrate on enforcing the ones we have and dealing with the disgrace that is mental health care in this country.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah…no evil assault weapons, no press. I would venture that people who SHOULD be on medication, but are NOT on medication, without firearms of any kind, kill a lot of people in this country. But…mental health is not an ‘easy’ fix. The congress or any state legislature can’t just pass a law, say “Look at what we did…we made you safer”, and retire to the clubhouse…

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