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Family of Mentally Ill Woman Killed by Police Speak Out

 
Family of Mentally Ill Woman Killed by Police Speak Out

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Michelle Cusseaux's mother said she initiated the turn of events that led police to her daughter's doorstep.

She said she thought police would help her daughter, not hurt her.

"I need justice for Michelle. I'm asking for the community's support. I need the community's help in making this possible. I would hate for this to happen to another mother, in losing a child," said Frances Garrett during a news conference on Monday. 

Community activists are calling for the Sergeant who opened fire on Cusseaux, when she came at him with a hammer, to be charged for the killing.

"I called, we had asked the people to help my daughter, to help my child, and this is the result, this is what we get," said Garrett.

Frances Garrett broke down as she spoke with reporters on Friday. She says she sensed her daughter Michelle Cusseaux might be in danger, so she took action Thursday afternoon.

"I called her clinical director yesterday, and asked that my daughter get impatient treatment, and I called," sand Garrett.

She thought her daughter would be admitted into a facility. Cusseaux had a criminal history with several arrests. Mental health workers requested police pick up Cusseaux at her home.

Police say that Cusseaux was armed with a hammer, and she raised it as she advanced on officers at her door. One officer fired a single shot killing her. Her family is questioning that action asking why non-lethal force wasn't used first.

"I talked with her right before that, and she was okay, she was calm," said Garrett.

She said Cusseaux had been diagnosed with several illnesses, including depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.

"A person who is ill deserves to be treated, and protected. That's not what happened," said Malik Waheed.

Phoenix Police declined to comment on the family's accusations of excessive force and police brutality.

Activists plan to hold a series of events in Phoenix in the coming days, calling for the prosecution of the Sergeant who opened fire. Police have only identified him as a 19-year veteran of the force.

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