At around 2 p.m. on September 24, Inman Morales was found naked and on the third floor fire escape of his apartment building at 489 Tompkins Avenue. When police arrived, he was waving an eight-foot long fluorescent light bulb, which he used to attack officers who approached him.
According to witnesses, Morales was threatening to take his own life as well as those of the officers around him. He climbed from the third floor fire escape to the awning of a store below, and continued making threats. Officers on the ground used a taser on Morales in an attempt to subdue him, but he fell off the awning and landed on his head. He was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to the NYPD handbook, tasers are not recommended for use in a situation where the subject is on an elevated surface and has the potential to fall. The officers responsible for the taser incident have been temporarily reassigned while an investigation is made into the incident.
Morales suffered from a history of emotional trouble. His funeral will be held on Thursday.
Councilman Bill de Blasio saw the situation as the latest failure of the NYPD regarding their policies regarding the emotionally disturbed.
“I’m outraged by the circumstances surrounding Morales’ tragic death,” he said in a statement. “As with Khiel Coppin and Gidone Busch, cases which involved individuals with mental illness, this incident begs the question of whether we are properly preparing NYPD officers to handle these situations.”
Responding to the incident, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced a new commander of the Emergency Services Unit, and required all members of that unit to undergo a refresher training course on how to handle situations involving the emotionally disturbed.