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Michelle Cusseaux, 50
Phoenix, Arizona
August 14, 2014

Agencies: Phoenix Police Department Arizona

Cause of death: shooting

Last updated: 2 months ago

Overview Help icon

Michelle Cusseaux, 50, was shot at her apartment after she threatened a police officer and three other officers with a hammer, authorities said. The officers said they were serving a court order to transport the woman to an in-patient mental-health facility at the request of her mother when the woman met them at the door with a hammer.

At the time of her death, Cusseaux suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. On August 14, 2014, Cusseaux grew agitated when a cab didn’t show up to take her to the hospital; just a week earlier, she’d filed a grievance on previous transportation failures. Cusseaux called a Southwest Network health facility, and Office Manager Jamey Helms found her comments to be threatening. Helms called the police to make what is formally known as a mental health petition.

Critics, while acknowledging that police face danger in many forms during the course of a day's work, and a hammer can be a deadly weapon. point out that the four officers involved knew they were dealing with a seriously mentally ill woman and should have been ready with non-lethal means of controlling her.

Legal Action Help icon

In September 2015, the Phoenix Police Department's Use of Force Board ruled that the officer who fatally shot Michelle Cusseaux, Sergeant Percy Dupra, was in violation of department policy.

Community and Family Efforts Help icon

#SayHerName

May 2015 #SayHerName vigil NYC

August 2015 Rally

February 2016 Petition

 

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