Andre Gladen, a 36-year old Black man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was legally blind, was shot and killed by a Portland police officer. His family, who claims that the police used excessive force on a person with mental health problems, is planning to take legal actions.
Gladen was last seen on Sunday before going to a stranger’s house with no shoes on and wrapped in a blanket. According to the house’s tenant, Desmond Pescaia, Gladen appeared lost and was behaving erratically. He told him that he had been released from a hospital, someone was after him to kill him and someone named “Ernest” told him to go there for help.
Pescaia didn’t let Gladen in but he tried to offer help by offering a glass of water and $10 for train tickets. But Gladen refused to leave and fell asleep on the porch instead. Pescaia then called the police before Gladen entered the house.
Officer Consider Vosu was the one who responded. Gladen panicked when he saw the officer, saying he had a fake badge. A struggle ensued when Gladen resisted being handcuffed and Vosu tased him but he got back up after. When Gladen pulled out a knife, Vosu fired three shots at almost two feet away from Gladen.
Gladen was taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Gladen’s family was shocked and believed that the shooting could have been avoided. They claim that even though Gladen was suffering from mental health problems, he wasn’t known to be violent.
“I know when he has those [mental breakdowns] he feels like people are out to get him,” Polina Krivoruk, Gladen’s ex-wife, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “But he wouldn’t be able to hurt you physically because he can’t see until you’re right in front of his face. It couldn’t have been any threat unless they were face to face.”
Diamond Randolph, Gladen’s cousin where he stays with, said he carries a knife for his protection. His sister, Donna Martin, said, “With a man being blind, how is he not to have protection when he’s been robbed on the streets before?”
His twin brother, Fonte Gladen, said his brother might have been referring to their cousin “Ernest” who died years before. He said Gladen had often experienced hallucinations and at that time, he just needed help. He told Oregon Live, “Why would he fall asleep at someone’s front door? This dude wasn’t looking to hurt anybody. Instead of just getting help for the person, they just kill him.”
Gladen’s family is planning to sue the Portland Police Bureau, which has been under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice after investigations found that its officers often use excessive force against people suffering from mental health problems.
Meanwhile, Officer Vosu is on standard, paid administrative leave while an investigation was ongoing.