Gwinnett County respond to a person experiencing a psychiatric episode on the rooftop
In this body cam video, a man told police the government was out to get him, and he was trying to "escape" off a roof.
“Talk to me. Talk to me,” a Spanish translator said to the man.
Instead of just police swarming the man, a mental health clinician was by his side.
“You're not going to jail,” said Pej Mahdavi in the video. He's part of Gwinnett County Police Department's Co-Responder Team along with Cpl. Tracey Reed. They spent hours one day in February talking the man down off the roof.
“You call 911 because it's a bad day, so already you're having a bad day, a bad thought, and then the police show up -- police cars, lights. You're thinking, 'I'm going to jail. Someone's in trouble,'” Mahdavi told 13Investigates. “I think for us, it's just being a friend. Just having a human connection, trying to relate to the person.”
The outcome that day in February, the man didn't go to jail as he feared.
Instead, the team says they connected the man to mental health services.
It’s the same conclusion of half of the over 2,000 calls the Gwinnett team’s responded to since July 2021. “And of all of those, less than two percent ended with people going to jail,” Mahdavi said.
Mahdavi and Reed followed the lead from the first team in the state, Athens-Clarke County.