The Police Department has protocols that require officers to transport mentally ill people who have not committed serious crimes to nearby hospitals for mental health evaluations. Police officials have acknowledged that officers did not seek mental health care for Eilman in the more than 29 27 hours she was in custody.
At one point while Eilman was jailed, according to the amended complaint, detention aide Teresa Williams responded to her pleas to be hospitalized by saying, “ain’t nothing wrong with her and she ain’t going to the hospital and if she keeps screaming, we are going to send her to the crazy hospital.”
Chicago Lawn District Lt. Carson Earnest allegedly asked a sergeant to interview Eilman after arresting officers Richard Cason and Rosendo Moreno said she was “goofy,” according to the complaint. Earnest declined comment. Cason and Moreno could not be reached for comment Friday evening. Officers at the Wentworth District lockup documented that Eilman was acting “irrational” when they processed her into a holding cell overnight.
The amended complaint alleges that Officer Pamela Smith had talked on the telephone with Kathy Paine, who told her she feared her daughter was in the middle of a bipolar episode. Nonetheless, Smith allowed Eilman to leave and did not notify Paine that her daughter had been released, according to the complaint.
There’s so much that’s wrong with this story. Later, Eilman wandered the tough neighborhood near the police station, was abducted, sexually assaulted, and fell 7 stories from the only remaining public housing building in the Robert Taylor Homes project. She survived, but suffered devastating brain injuries and will likely never fully recover.
What’s particularly disturbing is the indifference and irritation our public servants in the Chicago Police displayed when faced with a woman acting out in irrational ways at Chicago’s Midway Airport, two days in a row as she apparently was attempting to board Frontier Airlines for a flight home to California.
Rather than take her for the mandated psych eval at a hospital, they took her to jail. They threatened her instead with being taken to the “crazy hospital,” which she was actually begging to be taken to any hospital at all, as if her request was even more irrational and irritating than her previous behavior, dancing around and ranting about oil prices for 2 days at Midway.
For various reasons, I’m pretty horrified at this “take the crazy person to jail until they snap out of it” approach to someone who’s clearly caught up in some kind of mental health crisis. And then threatening to dump them at the “crazy hospital” if they don’t shape up and behave like a normal person.
Of course – the Chicago Police are not known for enlightened treatment of people they perceive as “goofy” or different or hairy or, in the bad old days, radical.