Legally Blind Black Man with Schizophrenia Shot Dead by Police
Andre Gladen, 36, had been in the hospital a few times after experiencing hallucinations, including trying to break into a car that he believed was on fire with his brother and cousin inside, his twin brother, Fonte Gladen, said.
He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was also legally blind. On Sunday, he was killed, instead of being helped, by police.
With no shoes on and wrapped in a blanket, he came to a house in Portland saying someone named “Ernest” had told him to go to the home for help. Gladen told the resident Desmond Pescaia that he had been released from a hospital and someone was after him, trying to kill him.
Pescaia offered help but Gladen refused and fell asleep on the porch. Pescaia saw him sleeping and called his landlord who advised him to call the police.
Officer Consider Vosu arrived in a marked car, and Gladen panicked saying the officer had a fake badge, according to Pescaia. Pescaia picked up a walking stick threatening to beat Gladen if he didn’t leave, but the officer said he would handle the situation. Pescaia put down the stick and Gladen pushed through the doorway.
After a struggle, Vosu tased Gladen, but he didn’t stay down and subsequently pulled out a knife. Vosu fired three shots at less than two feet away from Gladen, according to Pescaia.
Gladen was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Pescaia, would wondered if he could’ve done more, said on Monday “I just wanted police to have him trespassed from here.”
Man describes encounter that lead to fatal police shooting in his home
Vosu had requested backup but didn’t wait for them and shot Gladen before they arrived. He is on paid administrative leave.
The Portland Police Bureau remains under a federal settlement reached after a U.S. Justice Department investigation found officers often used excessive force against people with mental illness.
Oregon’s Center on Behavioral Health and Justice Integration provides Crisis Intervention Training to police as a part of a national movement to help police better handle interactions with people with mental illness.
According to the PPB’s website “all Portland Police Bureau officers receive basic Crisis Intervention Training as well as annual CIT refresher training.” They also have an Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) specifically for handling crisis calls that involve a person exhibiting signs of mental illness.
Gladen’s sister, Donna Martin, said the family plans to sue the Portland Police Bureau. “With a man being blind, how is he not to have protection when he’s been robbed on the streets before”
Diamond Randolph, who Gladen was staying with in Portland, said he carried a knife for protection because of his eyesight problems.
“Why would he fall asleep at someone’s front door” his brother, Fonte Gladen, said. “This dude wasn’t looking to hurt anybody. Instead of just getting help for the person, they just kill him.”
Gladen wonders if his brother, when referring to “Ernest,” was talking about a cousin of the same name who has been dead for many years.
Polina Krivoruk, Gladen’s ex-wife who knew him for more than 20 years, said he wasn’t known to be violent.
“I know when he has those [mental breakdowns] he feels like people are out to get him,” Krivoruk said. “But he wouldn’t be able to hurt you physically because he can’t see until you’re right in front of his face. It couldn’t have been any threat unless they were face to face.”
Gladen was a father of five children.
Reader Question: If police are trained to know when they’re dealing with someone with an illness, why didn’t the officer wait for backup or the crisis team