Official urges NYPD to train cops to handle mentally ill

BROOKLYN - A state senator from Brooklyn is calling for the creation of a police task force after police killed a teen who may have been mentally unstable.

Kiehl Coppin, 18, was killed Monday night when police responded to a dispute at his home. Police say they reasonably believed Coppin was armed because of comments he made in a 911 call before police arrived. However, the teen was holding a hairbrush, which police mistook for a weapon. Coppins? family says the teen was mentally unstable.

State Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) is now calling for a task force to train police officers on dealing with unstable people in times of crisis. He says it would be composed of police officers and mental health workers.

Phillip Kirschner of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is waging a similar campaign. He is urging city officials to secure more funding for mobile response units.

Kirschner says each precinct should have a couple of officers on duty trained to respond to situations involving the mentally ill.

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