Update: Son of Black Man With Mental Illness Killed by Portland Police Plans to File Lawsuit
Andre Gladen, a father of five who suffered from schizophrenia, was shot dead on Sunday by Officer Consider Vosu of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), after an altercation in a home. Records confirm that he visited the emergency room of Adventist Medical Center in Southeast Portland a few hours before his death.
Now, his 21-year-old son, Andre Gladen Jr. of Sacramento, Calif., plans to sue the PPB, and Gladen Sr.’s twin brother, Fonte Gladen, are questioning the hospital’s procedures.
“We plan to bother the police department, the police chief, the mayor, the hospital until we receive the justice my brother deserves,” Fonte Gladen said.
In regard to the lawsuit, Gladen, Jr. told The Portland Mercury, “I especially plan on taking legal action because he is physically and mentally impaired. He’s missing an eye, he’s afraid. The officer should have seen that right off the bat and acted accordingly.”
He continued, “But this isn’t just any Black shooting. It’s a Black shooting of my father now. It’s not Trayvon Martin. It’s my dad.”
Brittany Johnson, Gladen Jr.’s mother, said that Gladen Sr. would have a mental health episode about once a year where he would see and speak with his dead cousin, Ernest, who was fatally shot by a police officer in California. She said, in the more than 10 years since, that trauma had impacted Gladen’s mental illness. “He doesn’t have any idea what’s going on when he has an episode,” Johnson said.
Gladen Jr. said people like his dad think differently than healthy people: “I don’t know what my dad could have done differently in this situation. If this isn’t [the PPB’s] first time shooting and killing a disabled person, why wouldn’t the officer try something different The police should maybe be sending someone out who might understand his mental illness, and not treat him like a criminal. At least shoot him with beanbags … give him a chance of survival.”
The Adventist spokesperson said its medical records department is “always willing to release information to next of kin in a timely manner upon receiving proof of familial relationship.” But they will not say why Gladen came to the ER that day.
“If he had just left the hospital, I don’t think they should’ve let someone walk out in that state of mind,” said Fonte Gladen.
Chris Bouneff, of the Oregon chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said,”Emergency rooms in the Portland metropolitan area are known in the advocacy world to do this work terribly, period. We don’t train people to do this work, we don’t resource emergency rooms in terms of creating a physical plan to be able to do this work.”
A statement from Disability Rights of Oregon regarding Andre Gladen’s death, called for an independent police review:
“Understanding what occurred through a wholly independent lens is critical for the community at large, for people with disabilities, and [the] PPB. Accountability where appropriate engenders community trust.”
Police and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office are reviewing the case to decide if it will go to a grand jury.
The family has organized an online fundraiser to help cover the cost of his funeral. Fonte Gladen and his family plan to fly to Portland to protest police brutality.
Reader Question: It seems that training for police and ERs are necessary to handle patients with mental illness, but would that be enough to save the life of a Black man