Fayetteville Police say they’re dealing with a dangerous issue: an increasing number of what is known as ‘suicide by cop’ attempts.
People who are attempting suicide by cop are putting officers in a position that forces them to decide if deadly force is necessary. Be warned, the video above is graphic but necessary to show the severity of the problem.
“This is probably, hopefully a cry for help,” Cpl. Brashears said.
A woman, who police say already tried to commit suicide earlier that night, refused to put down a knife.
“In this instance I think she probably would have harmed the officers had she been given the chance to,” Brashears said.
This is a time where drawing a pistol would legally be justified.
“Instead of using his pistol he holstered his pistol, drew his taser and actually took control of the situation,” Brashears said.
Brashears says it happens all too often.
A man walked into a convenience store and told the clerk to call 911 on him.
“He came up to the counter and told me to call the cops because he was tired of his life and to call them and tell them that there was an armed robbery going on and i don’t feel safe here,” the 911 caller said.
The suspect did not steal anything or pull a weapon, but once officers arrived the suspect put his hands behind his back.
“The officer doesn’t know, does he have a knife in his waist band, does he have a gun in his waist band, is he going to draw a gun?” Brashears said.
In the past 10 years, Fayetteville Police Officers have fired their weapons five times; all deemed justified after investigations. Three of those five times were fatal shootings. The other two the suspect wasn’t hit.
“They don’t have to always expect violence or they don’t have to you know, want to be harmed,” Brashears said. “We will come out and talk to anyone anytime to help them.”
Police aren’t tracking the number of these ‘suicide by cop’ attempts but they do say it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
“If they want somebody to talk to or if they need somebody to help them get mental help that’s one of the tings that we do here,” he said.
To find resources for suicide prevention click here.
Click here for Part 2: Fayetteville Police Training