A male witness says the man, identified as Thomas, was sitting on a bench when he was approached
by two officers and ran from them. The man says police used a stun gun on Thomas six times.
"They caught him, pound his face, pound his face against the curb ... and they beat him up," the
man said. "They beat him up, and then all the cops came and they hogtied him, and he was like,
'Please God! Please Dad!'"
The police department has turned over the investigation to the district attorney's office and placed
on paid administrative leave six officers involved in the beating. The FBI also launched a probe
into whether the officers violated Thomas' civil rights in the incident.
People with untreated mental illness make up about one-third of the nation's 600,000 homeless,
said Kristina Ragosta, legislative and policy counsel for the Treatment Advocacy Center.
More needs to be done by police departments to train officers in how to recognize symptoms and
deal with people with mental illness, said Elaine Deck, the senior program manager at the
International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Sometimes, an untrained officer can make a situation worse, she said.
"Handcuffing them may escalate the behavior where the officer may think they are trying to calm
the person," Deck said. "They may not know that this may actually escalate a response."