Cop Shoots And Kills Man For Throwing Rocks At Police Station

An Arizona man's death at the hands of police raises more questions about U.S. law enforcement's handling of the mentally ill.

A white man was killed by police after throwing rocks at police department property including a patrol car, the police station and even an officer.

Lonnie Niesen, 41, was reportedly throwing either bricks or rocks outside of a Police station in Phoenix, Arizona before being confronted by an officer whose name hasn't been released.

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After Niesen threw one of the objects at the officer— just barely missing him — the cop fired his gun, striking and killing Niesen.

Family members reportedly said that Niesen had stolen a handgun and alcohol but returned the gun before the incident that claimed his life.

Yet again, this man’s death raises questions about police conduct when handling tense situations. Just in 2015, more than 1,000 people have been killed by police in the U.S. according to The Counted which tracks officer-involved killings.

Although much of the focus of police killings has been surrounding the racial disparities, the mentally ill have also accounted for a large portion of law enforcement’s victims.

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An investigation into Niesen's death is underway and perhaps it will be revealed that he didn’t have a documented history of mental illness, but it’s evident he wasn’t in a good mental state at the time of his death considering his family said he had gone on an alcohol binge, stolen a gun, made suicidal remarks and then went on to assault a police officer.

He was already spiraling out of control and there’s no telling what it was that set him off. 

Was there another way the officer could have responded to Niesen so he would still be alive today and possibly receive help for whatever was troubling him?

Banner Photo Credit: Flickr user Tex Texin 

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