NYLPI Statement Regarding Second Amended Complaint in Baerga v. City of New York

April 20, 2023

Baerga v. City of New York, CCIT-NYC, Disability Justice, Health Justice, News, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

City Hall Rally for Mental Health Crisis Response

On April 20, the plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit challenging New York City’s use of police as first responders for people experiencing mental health crises filed an Amended Complaint, describing the additional legal violations presented by Mayor Eric Adam’s November 29, 2022 policy, which establishes a lower standard by which the police are to determine whether to involuntarily remove people to hospitals for psychiatric evaluation.

The Baerga Amended Complaint also adds four additional plaintiffs. Neil Amitabh, a homeless New Yorker of West Indian descent, was taken by the police against his will to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation after falling asleep in a subway station with his girlfriend. Lisa Collins, an African American woman, was detained by the police while she was a guest at a luxury hotel and brought to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Neither Mr. Amitabh nor Ms. Collins was a danger to themselves or others or experiencing a mental health crisis when they were deprived of their liberty. Also joining the lawsuit is Voices Of Community Activists and Leaders New York (VOCAL NY), a grassroots organization that builds power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war, mass incarceration, and homelessness, in order to create healthy and just communities. VOCAL NY is committed to removing the police as first responders when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis.

The plaintiffs seek to replace the police with teams of trained peers (those with lived mental health experience) and healthcare providers who can help those in need and eliminate the violence and trauma caused by police responders.

Find the full text of the amended complaint here.

Read ongoing coverage about Baerga v. City of New York here.

Photo by Emma Madsen, NYLPI

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