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ADA Doesn’t Apply to Police Shooting Mentally Ill

ADA Doesn't Apply to Police Shooting Mentally Ill

Claims of excessive force and of assault and battery by the police were precluded by the plaintiff's conviction for assault with a deadly weapon arising from the same events.

A police shooting and arrest of a violent mentally ill person, in which the police did not use their training in nonviolent techniques, did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plaintiff was not denied the benefits and protections of police mental health training by the officers, but by his own actions in assaulting an officer. In any case, "Title II [of the ADA] does not apply to an officer's on-the-street responses to reported disturbances or other similar incidents. ... While the purpose of the ADA is to prevent the discrimination of disabled individuals, we do not think Congress intended that the fulfillment of that objective be attained at the expense of the safety of the general public." But (at 802): "Once the area was secure and there was no threat to human safety, the Williamson County Sheriff's deputies would have been under a duty to reasonably accommodate Hainze's disability in handling and transporting him to a mental health facility."

The court notes that the county was obliged to evaluate its current services, policies, and practices for ADA compliance, and had done so only with respect to its physical facilities and not its policies and procedures for dealing with mentally disturbed persons. However, since they had policies and procedures, the lack of a review did not cause the plaintiff's injuries. At 802: "... Hainze's injuries were caused by his own criminal actions, not Williamson County's failure to perform a self-evaluation." See: Hainze v. Richards, 207 F.3d 795 (5th Cir. 2000).

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Related legal case

Hainze v. Richards