Should police accommodate people with mental illness in crisis?By J.D. Miles

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CELINA (CBSDFW.COM) – Is a man in the Collin County Jail simply because he didn’t take his medicine?

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That’s the claim from his family, who say authorities took a mentally ill man to jail instead of a psychiatric hospital.

In custody since July 30 at the Collin County Jail, Guy Fuller’s family called police for help with his mental illness.

Celina police went to the home of Fuller’s parents who called to report that the 31-year-old man was off his medicine and becoming abusive.

“He had pushed my father and just had not taken his medication,” says Fuller’s sister Debra Mendoza.

She says her brother is a diagnosed schizophrenic who takes a dozen prescriptions for his condition.

“He has to be told to take a shower to brush his teeth to eat,” says Mendoza.

Officers attempted to subdue Fuller with tasers but he attacked them. Police reports show he punched one officer in the face and kicked another in the groin.

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“When he was told to put his hands behind his back that’s when everything happened. He just saw the threat I guess, somebody coming at him,” says Mendoza.

When officers got control, Fuller was charged with two counts of assaulting them and taken to the Collin County Jail. But his sister says the family thought he was going to a psychiatric hospital.

“This is the first time Celina police have ever dealt with Guy,” says Mendoza. “There’s proper ways to handle mentally ill patients let’s not taken them to jail.”

Fuller’s sister says her brother can be a gentle happy person.

“I’m angry with the police because it doesn’t seem like they have the proper training to deal with situations like this,” says Mendoza.

The Collin County Sheriff’s Department, which made the decision to transport Fuller to jail would not comment.

Fuller’s family recently moved from Little Elm where they say police would take him to a hospital when he had previous problems.

They plan a protest outside the jail next week.

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