Protecting the innocent: IS the State of MN/ #MinnesotaDHS in need of an overhaul in protecting their employees and the general public from violent mentally ill offenders?
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS: I am NOT a clinically or credentialed trained professional in medical and mental health. I have absolutely no education in medical, mental health, law, law enforcement and in public safety.
Unfortunately, due to the link above, my normal disclaimer of when people who are at high risk for hurting themselves or others does NOT apply because the victim that is the catalyst of this blog, as well as other victims were employees of Minnesota treatment centers for the severely mentally ill and MN DOC employees who were violently attacked or killed while their assailants were already incarcerated.
In full disclosure, as someone who has non violent mental health issues and came super close almost 11 years ago, of finding out first hand what it’s like to be a resident of the facility, that the above victim who was an employee, in above link was violently assaulted last night, in my case, (unlike the assailant/patient/resident who had past history of being convicted of violent crime prior to his commitment) with no prior legal history other than 2 traffic offenses and 1 psych hospitalization, 2 weeks prior to a suicide attempt that there was an attempt (which was stayed) to have me committed to Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center in Summer of 2008 status post of my 1 and only suicide attempt, the only other civil legal history I have, was the unlawful detainer that I received after the commitment attempt and I had no prior civil or criminal history other than above mentioned citations in 2008 and I haven’t had any since then.
That will be a topic of another blog. As I wasn’t completely blameless, just in a non violent medical and mental health crisis who was never in danger of hurting anyone else other than myself.
I couldn’t though write this blog without being transparent about my own history and the factors that played into my medical and mental health history, I write about as a non monetized blogger, in hopes to help others in crisis, get help sooner and to advocate for more treatment options, so what I went through and the ones I love, didn’t go through in vain and to prevent that if possible from someone else having to go through the same thing.
I’ve been blogging for years now, about violent crime prevention.
I knew after though after writing blogs about local violent crimes and seeing the records of those who perpetuated those horrific acts, if something at the time, especially since many of those who I’ve written about in the last several years to a month ago, their criminal histories even for someone who has NO formal training in medical, mental health, criminal forensics could possibly forecast that their crimes could escalate to tragic violent physical harm to innocent others and to violent fatalities.
When I tried to research initiatives for safety improvements and injury statistics for employees at AMRTC where that nurse was violently assaulted, at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, as well as Minnesota Department of Corrections stats, when an Oak Park Heights correctional officer who was murdered ,when trying to help a fellow correctional officer who was also being brutally attacked by an inmate , last fall.
The above table in this blog, which was is ALMOST 30 years old, was as close as I got to finding any statistics online for AMRTC.
I got a little closer seeing a few articles about staff picketing about safety in the past and even a little more insight when reading online employee review sites, where employees, even recently, where they share how rewarding it feels to help patients they work with, they DO NOT feel safe at work.
I have confidence that change will happen one way or another, I think primarily it will occur because employees are going to fight for safer conditions in that facility and in other facilities where people have to work with people who are confined because they of the public safety threat that they pose (which I need to clarify again ABSOLUTELY not everyone in a mental health treatment center or even in prison, long term committed/incarcerated are violent predators or have past violent crime convictions , but quite a few do).
The problem is, that is too late for the nurse who could’ve been killed last night and if changes aren’t IMMEDIATE, more unnecessary risk is posed to these employees.
It’s also at the risk of employees in local medical centers where more acts of violence are taken place and those employees are also claiming fear of being harmed on the job, that there aren’t more safety initiatives in place.
As well as the risk to the general public, as exhibited horrifically last month when that 5 year old boy was thrown from the 3rd floor by someone who had incurred 3 charges in the Summer of 2015, 2 of them were for violent acts and one was for property damage, he then until 2019 had 6 traffic offenses, which is not a stretch that his blatant disregard for the law, didn’t lead to him weaponizing a motor vehicle to harm or kill someone.
What Emmanuel Aranda didn’t have though, was any civil legal action in regards to his mental health, which had exhibited propensity to be violent which he exhibited several times, in a short of period of time, 3 1/2 years before he would attempt to kill someone on purpose.
People who work to help others in medical, mental health and law enforcement deserve protection and a right to a violence free workplace and in public , just like the general public deserves that same kind of protection wherever they may be.
Changes in law have to take place, more initiatives on mental health need to take place and if people cannot feel safe when working with people who already incarcerated or confined due to the potential safety hazards they present to the general public, more innocent people are going to be violently assaulted, if not killed.
This is not Minnesota specific, obviously.
This is happening all over the country, as well as the world.
But we have to do something to honor these victims, to prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again.
It’s just going to take more effort to pass legislation that concentrates on the rights of victims or potential victims with a concentrated effort by public safety, DHS, DOC, legislators, law enforcement, psychiatric and medical professionals and violent crime activists, so innocent people have the chance of being protected like convicted assailants are.
And maybe for repeat violent offenders, whether they are incarcerated, confined or walking free like Brian Fitch (I should probably clarify Sr, as his son by the same name, is currently racking up his own record) was who had dozens of violent felony convictions before he murdered Mendota Heights Officer Scott Patrick in 2014, by studying them more might be able to predict on the side of safety their inability to be rehabilitated.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victim of Thursday nights assault, family and friends, as well as all the employees who’ve been assaulted, if not killed while working trying to help people that may not have any control over their violent tendencies but their confinement doesn’t protect the people who are treating them.
Note: Being a disabled activist, I welcome ANY productive and constructive feedback from any entity or party where if I missed something or could be educated more, about prevention, planned enhanced safety initiatives or anything that can help people be safer.
I do also as an activist will address non violent mental health patients who are misplaced in either jails, prisons or the safety nets that could help prevent others like me, where safety nets for both myself and my family could’ve prevented an unnecessary loss of freedom in someone who posed absolutely NO threat to the public.
Just not on this blog, but given that I am a mental health activist, I didn’t want the population of people who follow me, who are non violent mental health patients to feel I am not going to address their right to freedom, safety and security initiatives , in future blogs.
Just NOT today.
This blog was published 5/10/2019