Montgomery County Police conducted a welfare check on Chelsea Manning with guns drawn
Two tweets from Manning on May 27 caused concern leading to multiple calls to 911 for a welfare check
Video footage from security cameras show three officers enter Manning’s residence with guns drawn and one with a Taser drawn
Manning was out of the country at the time of the welfare check
Following two tweets from Chelsea Manning on May 27, many were afraid the once Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower was going to take her own life, leading friends to call the police to conduct a welfare check.
Manning quickly deleted the tweets, but not before they had already been reported to law enforcement. A screenshot from one of the tweets shows what is assumed to be Manning standing on a balcony with the caption, “im sorry.”
Police officers arrived at Manning’s apartment—with guns drawn—to check on her well-being, but now many are saying it is lucky she was not home. Video footage obtained by The Intercept show three officers from the Montgomery County Police Department in Bethesda, Maryland, entering Manning’s apartment with their guns drawn. A fourth officer is seen with a Taser.
The footage was obtained from security cameras and released with Manning’s permission. After knocking at the door and receiving no response, an officer is seen trying to turn the lock until the door opens. Once the door is open, a female officer enters the residence with her gun drawn, right behind her is a male officer with his Taser drawn. Two more female officers enter the apartment with guns drawn and begin searching for Manning.
According to Manning’s friend Janus Cassandra, who she had been speaking to that night, she was out of the country at the time of the welfare check. Cassandra told The Intercept, “If Chelsea had been home when these cops arrived with guns drawn, she would be dead.”
Montgomery County Police Captain Paul Starks confirmed the welfare check and stated that officers conducted the welfare check after several “concerned parties” reported her tweets. Officers looked up Manning’s address, then got a master key to get into her apartment. After realizing Manning was not in the residence, officers tried to call her phone, which went straight to voicemail.
They responded to the address to check her welfare. Once inside the residence they realized that the residence did not match the photo that was posted on Twitter. We tried to determine where she may be by attempting to use her phone but the phone was powered off and they weren’t able to leave a message.
Starks stated that it is based on each officer and situation if they feel a gun is needed to be drawn. While Starks claims the officers did not know what they were walking into, others argue that police departments around the country have shown reasons for concern when responding to mental health calls.
Manning’s account sent out another tweet assuring she was okay. The tweet did not go into specifics, but stated “Chelsea is on the phone with friends.”
** chelsea is safe. she is on the phone with friends, thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) May 28, 2018
On May 29, another tweet from Manning’s account said she was recovering and in the company of friends. The tweet goes on to give two crisis center numbers for anybody in need.
** chelsea is recovering and in the company of friends. we thank everyone for their well-wishes and support.
if you or someone you know is in crisis, these orgs can help:
USA: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ*)
USA: (866) 488-7386
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) May 30, 2018
The Washington Post reported that a quarter of the 987 people killed by police were mental health calls. It is also reported that people of color in a mental health crisis are at higher chances to be shot by police. This data leads to the obvious question, how are officers helping a suicidal person by showing up and killing them?
Along with officers escalating a delicate situation, the terrifying act of suicide by cop has become a way for someone to take their life without having to do it themselves. According to suicide.org, research showed that between 1987 and 1997 around 11% of all police shootings were suicide by cop situations. At the same time, suicide by cop has also become a scapegoat giving officers legal ground to shoot someone when lethal force may not have been necessary.
In 2014, Health Research Funding found that over 90% of those involved in a suicide by cop were white males. Most of the times weapons were involved, but only around half of the time were the weapons loaded. Around 17% of those with weapons had either toys or replicas.