Former Emerging Leader Fellow Kee Tobar penned a new op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the urgent need to invest in mental health services and alternatives to law enforcement for those experiencing mental health crises.
I am a disability justice attorney, and my mentally ill stepbrother, Marzeus Scott, was killed by the police while in crisis in Blytheville, Ark. Watching the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting, and seeing his mom’s predicament, reignited a feeling of helplessness that is all too familiar to my family. I think back to times where calling the cops felt like my only option for getting my stepbrother the help he so desperately needed. In truth, it was the only accessible option for a working-class family unable to afford the appropriate private inpatient care and services.
It is not lost on me that Walter Wallace’s siblings called 911. I can’t stop thinking about how not too long ago I would have done the same, and even with all my legal training and knowledge of the system, I’m not sure my decision would be any different now.