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Mental health patient Linda Carol Clark was shot to death by a Placerville police officer last week after she stole an ambulance from Marshall Hospital and was followed by police. Witnesses said Clark was in a hospital gown and appeared confused. When she finally did stop, she put the ambulance into reverse and rammed three police cars. At this point, the officer shot Clark.
One witness said that he did not hear the police ask her to step out of the vehicle before shots were fired.
Clark called the police several times from November to February, once claiming that an intruder was trying to cut off her legs. It seemed as if she were suffering from some sort of mental illness and might not have received the help she needed.
A story in The Sacramento Bee said “the real culprit in this tragic, senseless death – the state's collapsing mental health infrastructure.”
I wonder how many more deaths have to occur before access to quality mental health care is considered crucial?
I called Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s office Thursday and spoke with a staff member who said that she was sure Steinberg would not leave the mentally ill with no place to go because of the proposed budget cuts. If enacted, several mental health clinics in Sacramento County will close, affecting thousands.
What is it going to take for these politicians to wake up and listen? How many more people have to end up without proper mental health care? How many will have to DIE?