PHOENIX (AP) - Supporters of a mentally ill woman who was fatally shot by Phoenix police wheeled her casket along downtown streets on Friday to protest the way authorities have handled the case.
The group believes police aren’t treating Michelle Cusseaux’s case any differently than other officer-involved shootings and are upset that Police Chief Daniel Garcia hasn’t appointed an outside agency to investigate the shooting.
Garcia said Wednesday criminal and administrative investigations were being conducted into the shooting, and he’s asked the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to review the criminal findings and make final case decisions.
In addition, Garcia said he has assigned a police commander to the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy to assist with training officers to work with people who have mental health issues. He also said the department will begin buying more on-officer cameras.
Cusseaux, 50, was shot Aug. 14 after she threatened officers with a claw hammer at her Maryvale apartment, authorities said.
Officers had been called to the complex to serve an emergency mental health pickup order on Cusseaux.
Her mother Frances Garrett said Cusseaux suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Garrett said she called a mental health facility to try and get inpatient treatment for her daughter.
Cusseaux’s family and supporters guided her white casket on wheels from City Hall to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.