A common form of police brutality is when an officer fires their gun in a situation where it is not necessary to do so. Victims are often killed or seriously injured when this happens. 

A report identified the officer from Coralville, Iowa who had shot a man in the torso twice during a mental health response to a residential area. 

Officer opens fire during a mental health response

The incident began when the Coralville police dispatcher received a call just before 10 am about a man in a local home who was suicidal. As soon as officers arrived, they believed that a gunshot was fired inside. They made contact with the man a short time later. After about one hour of discussions and negotiations, the man appeared to start to surrender. Police claim that at this time, the man quickly went back into the home and emerged with a rifle that he pointed at the officers. One of the police officers on the scene fired twice shortly after the man came near them with a weapon. Two bullets hit the man’s midsection, and he was immediately given medical aid on the scene and transported to the University of Iowa Trauma Center for further treatment. The man’s condition after being transported was unknown. 

The officer in question had worked for the Coralville department for 14 years. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will be spending time with both the officer and the victim to determine how they should proceed. They will submit various materials to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for consideration during the course of their investigation. 

Coralville forms part of the western border of Iowa City.

Protocols related to officers’ use of firearms

Police officers receive extensive training regarding the use of their firearms and general use of force when dealing with violent suspects. They are only allowed to open fire to dispel an immediate threat to themselves, or to protect the safety of others in the area. They are trained regarding restrictions on their use of force to prevent unnecessary death or injury, especially to innocent people who happen to be nearby during an incident. 

Should mental health professionals respond to these kinds of incidents? 

Mental health situations create an additional layer of difficulty. Many police reform advocates have said that qualified mental health professionals should respond to these situations. This could avoid further violence and give the person psychological treatment while avoiding the possibility of further violence. 

Get help from a lawyer in your area

There are attorneys in the Iowa City area who can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf if you have been harmed by a police officer. To learn more about this process, contact:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices 

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400