WATCH: Elderly Man Dies After Officers Slam Him On His Head, Break His Neck
Orange County, FL — There’s probably no better example, to highlight the systemic problem our system of justice currently faces, than the following story. An elderly man, William Howard (75), who had never been in trouble with the law before, had a run-in with police after his wife said he “began to act strange.”
Howard was arrested and taken to jail for attacking his wife with a knife. But it’s what happened next which illustrates just how violent the system truly is.
The convergence of mental health issues, crime, and the criminal justice system worked against Howard’s favor following his arrest. Why he wasn’t taken to a mental health facility following the attack is a question which remains to be answered — especially considering the fact that this man with no arrest history did something so outlandish. Nevertheless, Howard found himself an inmate in Florida’s Orange County Jail on November 16, 2016.
Because of his diminished mental state, jail personnel were having a hard time getting Howard to cooperate with their orders. Appearing confused, according to reports, Howard would not come out of his jail cell.
The corrections officers on the scene worked patiently, it seems, to coax Howard into compliance. They jingled keys and spoke to the man, advising him to come to the sound of the clanging noise. “I’m over here,” a jailer can be heard saying as he shook the keys.” “Come over here,” he implored.
Howard didn’t budge, and so the controversial decision to use force was made. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the wisest of decisions. While Howard appears to be a tall man of formidable stature, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know the man, being elderly, is also quite frail.
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