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Shootings renew call for New Mexico health changes

Friday - 4/4/2014, 3:44pm  ET

Riot police stand guard in front of protesters in downtown Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, March 30,2014. Hundreds of protesters marched past riot police in Albuquerque on Sunday, days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent deadly police shooting. The video, which bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous, warned of a cyberattack on city websites and called for the protest march. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

RUSSELL CONTRERAS
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The recent Albuquerque police shooting death of a homeless camper who had spent years in and out of jail and New Mexico's only psychiatric hospital have sparked a push for more mental health resources in the state.

It has also generated renewed interest in adopting of a law requiring people with severe mental illnesses to take prescribed medications or face involuntary hospitalization.

New Mexico is one of only five states without such law, and advocates say without it, police will increasingly find themselves in situations like the fatal March standoff with James Boyd.

The 38-year-old transient was shot and killed after police said he has threatened officers.

Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Connecticut also have not approved the use of court orders to make mental health outpatients take their medications.


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