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Schizophrenic Teen Murdered by Police After His Family Called For Help

Schizophrenic Teen Murdered by Police After His Family Called For Help

Eighteen-year-old Keith Vidal of Boiling Springs Lakes, N.C., was shot and killed by police on the afternoon of January 5, despite having already been restrained and tased following a schizophrenic episode.

The family of the teen, who weighed just 90 lbs, had phoned the authorities to ask for help in controlling their son, who was wielding a small screwdriver and threatening to fight his mother.

According to a report released by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, three Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department officers arrived at the scene shortly after 12:30pm, and were quickly joined by a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Even though they radioed in to Brunswick County Dispatchers that the situation was under control following a confrontation inside the home, a Southport Police Department cruiser arrived to assist some 14 minutes after the first car came on the scene.

Just seventy seconds later, Vidal was shot and killed by the Southport officer.

As Vidal’s stepfather, Mark Wilsey, explains it, the incident was practically over and his stepson was being restrained by two officers when the Southport cop arrived.

No Reason to Shoot This Teen

From Gawker.com:

“Then all of a sudden, this Southport cop came, walked in the house [and said]: ‘I don’t have time for this. Tase him. Let’s get him out of here,” Wilsey recalled.

Seconds later Vidal was tased by another officer.

“He hit the ground [and] this guy shot him,” Wilsey told NBC News, referring to the Southport officer.
Wilsey said he asked the cop why he shot his stepson. “Well, I’m protecting my officers,” he responded, according to Wilsey.

“There was no reason to shoot this kid,” Wilsey told WECT. “They killed my son in cold blood. We called for help and they killed my son.”

The Southport Police Department has since placed Detective Byron Vassey, a nine-year veteran, on paid leave, but has not actually said that he was the officer who killed Vidal. So far, no other action against the police has been taken.

Many Troubling Aspects to This Story

The police apparently shot Vidal because he had the screwdriver in his hand. But they had already tased him, he weighed 90 lbs, and the screwdriver was just about 6 inches long. How much damage could he have done?

Vidal’s†neighbors said the teen played with their children and he never was violent.† According to them, he had a history of depression and schizophrenia, but he was never harmful to others.

It’s clear that we need to train people to handle those who are mentally ill and are prone to violent episodes. Schizophrenia is a tremendously difficult disorder to have, and most people do not know how to treat it. Many mentally ill people are regarded as criminals or with utter disdain.

A History of Police Brutality

This is hardly the first instance of unnecessary police violence.

Last October, 13-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was walking on a street near his house in Santa Rosa, Calif., around 3:00pm when Deputy Erick Gelhaus, who was in the passenger seat of a patrol car, and another unnamed deputy, who was driving, saw the eighth grader, who was carrying a toy gun. A few minutes later, Cruz was dead, after Gelhaus fired at him.

In the spring of 2012, a 21-year-old Brazilian man, Roberto Laudisio Curti, was killed by police in Sydney, Australia. According to reports, Laudisio was shot at least three times by police taser guns before collapsing on the street. He was unable to be revived and died at the scene.

In 2011 two officers in Orange County, Calif., faced felony charges in the death of Kelly Thomas. Thomas, 37, was brutally beaten by six Fullerton Police officers on July 5, and died several days later from his severe injuries. Prosecutors charged one police officer with murder and another with manslaughter in the killing of this defenseless, mentally ill homeless man who was pummeled, shocked with a taser and beaten with the butt of a stun gun.

TAKE ACTION

I don’t want to paint all cops as bad people, since that’s not true. But in the case of Keith Vidal, justice must be done. If you believe that what happened to Vidal was wrong, please sign and share†our petition, demanding the firing of the officers who killed this innocent teen in cold blood.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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169 comments

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5:22AM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

Update.....july6th Southport NC, EX DETECTIVE BRYON VASSEY FROM THE SOUTHPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN INDICTED ON VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES FOR THE KILLING OF KEITH VIDAL. MR.VASSEY IS ON UNPAID LEAVE AND AWAITING TRIAL FOR MY MENTALLY ILL SONS DEATH. PLEASE SHARE THIS STORY SO EVERYONE CAN BE UPDATED. THANK YOU....MARY WILSEY ...KEITHS MOTHER

5:22AM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

Update.....july6th Southport NC, EX DETECTIVE BRYON VASSEY FROM THE SOUTHPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN INDICTED ON VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES FOR THE KILLING OF KEITH VIDAL. MR.VASSEY IS ON UNPAID LEAVE AND AWAITING TRIAL FOR MY MENTALLY ILL SONS DEATH. PLEASE SHARE THIS STORY SO EVERYONE CAN BE UPDATED. THANK YOU....MARY WILSEY ...KEITHS MOTHER

11:42AM PST on Jan 17, 2014

THomas, we dodnt hate cops. WE hate the fact that they arent being trained properly. They already had him under control when the 3rd cop came in. These people are supposed to be professionals. if they can’t handle most all jobs without their guns then they don’t need to be in that field of work. The probelm in the force is what the police are Taught. People tthat are mentally ill do not desverved to be killed simply because they are a threat. Better trqaining or better tools to subdue people having psychotic episodes need to be developed. Handcuffs are very hard to put on someone whwaving a psychotic episode. So develop a better tool that would tie their arms to the sides. WE can send a man to the MOon and a vehicles to srive around on Mars. dont tell me we can't come up with a better tool and training for the police to use on people like this. I just am not swallowing it. THis particular cop went over the line….recognising that doesnt make me a cop hater..

3:28AM PST on Jan 17, 2014

Another silly article by another anti cop know nothing. First stupid comment by the author; "and the screwdriver was just about 6 inches long, how much damage could he have done?". Also the events that took place are all culled from the family, the same people that insisted their son was in no way any kind of threat, and harmless, yet called to police because they were afraid of their sons psychotic episode. Let's see how many of the "hate the cops" crowd would want to tangle with someone having a "psychotic episode" with a 6 inch screw driver?

2:59AM PST on Jan 16, 2014

:-(

11:07PM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Angela V mentioned that: "Hmmmm...a six inch screw driver can go straight through the heart...."

That might be difficult to accomplish when the the teen had been restrained by two officers.

"According to Vidal's stepfather, Mark Wilsey, the incident was practically over and his stepson was being restrained by two officers when the Southport cop arrived. "Then all of a sudden, this Southport cop came, walked in the house [and said]: 'I don't have time for this. Tase him. Let's get him out of here," Wilsey recalled. Seconds later Vidal was tased by another officer. "He hit the ground [and] this guy shot him," Wilsey told NBC News, referring to the Southport officer."

Interesting, restrained by two policeman and then they had tased him. So, why shoot a 90 pound teen already restrained and hit by a taser?

http://gawker.com/cop-kills-schizophrenic-teen-after-his-family-asks-for-1496226889

"In a police report obtained by WECT, the officer had only been on the scene for 70 seconds before radioing dispatchers to let them know he had shot someone."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/keith-vidal-killed-by-cop_n_4562904.html

5:21PM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Marc P you forgot a straw or a credit card. They can kill too LOLOLOL

THis BOY was a danger more to himself than anyone else. Killing people is NOT a way to subdue them. There is enttirely too much shooting of people who need help. Police need to be trained beter is the problem. They are getting more and more military ype training and nott near enough HELP training.

3:58PM PST on Jan 15, 2014

I don't hear stories about civilians shooting other civilians every day. But I DO hear about police shooting people every day.... And more and more of these victims turn out to be innocent, unarmed, non-combative, mentally ill and basically harmless, or children. Sounds to me like the POLICE are becoming the REAL danger! Who do you call when the Gang member that assaults you is wearing a blue uniform?

3:53PM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Angela V. Well lets just hope the cops never see you with one! While we are on the subject, hands can kill. Maybe the cops should just gun down people for having them. How about shoes? People have been killed by shoes before! Maybe wearing shoes should be justification for a cop to kill you. What about a hatpin? Theoretically you could kill someone with a hatpin. maybe we should excuse cops for killing people with one of those "Deadly" weapons" Police are trained in hand to hand combat. If one can't disarm a person who has a small screwdriver in his hand then they should not be a police officer! Why don't you just endorse police shooting anyone for any reason? I am SO tired of people endorsing police murders. Your ethics are showing!

1:45AM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Hmmmm...a six inch screw driver can go straight through the heart....

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