At the time of Michelle Cusseaux’s death, she was 50, lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. On August 14, 2014, Cusseaux grew agitated when a cab didn’t show up to take her to the hospital; just a week earlier, she’d filed a grievance on previous transportation failures. Cusseaux called a Southwest Network health facility, and Office Manager Jamey Helms found her comments to be threatening. Due to House Bill 2105, passed in April of that year, neither Helms nor anyone else affiliated with Southwest Network—which claims to be “one of the largest community behavioral health providers in the U.S.”—have to check in on patients personally. Instead, Helms called the police to make what is formally known as a mental health petition. (Police are frequently first-responders in calls like this, which in ideal situations end in a psychiatric care facility; the actual trip itself is referred to as a mental-health pickup.)
The last tweet Anthony Hill sent read, “Never say never.” Two hours later, around 2 p.m. on March 9, he was shot dead. Reports and video footage, captured moments before his death, spotlight Hill’s erratic behavior: the 26-year-old Air Force veteran had been wandering The Heights apartment complex naked, crawling on the ground, knocking on doors, and hanging from a balcony. When approached by Dekalb County police officer Robert Olsen, Hill charged the officer despite Olsen’s pleas for him to stop. Though Olsen, who is a seven-year veteran of the police force, was equipped with a taser, he fatally shot an unarmed Hill twice.