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September 17, 2020Statement

Statement on the Lancaster Police-Involved Shooting of Mr. Ricardo Munoz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 17, 2020

Contact: Peri Jude Radecic, Chief Executive Officer
Disability Rights Pennsylvania


Disability Rights Pennsylvania Statement on the Lancaster Police-Involved Shooting of Mr. Ricardo Munoz

Earlier this week, Lancaster police were involved in the shooting of Mr. Ricardo Munoz, a man diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Interviews with family have disclosed that Crisis Intervention and the Lancaster Bureau of Police were called for a mental health crisis, not 911.

It is unknown whether the police who responded were trained in crisis intervention or were sent by the Bureau to de-escalate a mental health crisis. What is known is that Mr. Munoz’s death demonstrates that access to mental health services and supports continues to be an ongoing struggle in Pennsylvania. We also know that the outcome was a brown man in a mental health crisis was shot and killed by police in Lancaster.

We must continue to talk about systemic issues involving racism, police reforms, disability, and the need to provide enough funding for mental health services in Pennsylvania and across our country. We must ensure that people with mental illness have access to community-based services and supports. We must also ensure first responders have adequate knowledge, evidence-based training, and skill development on how to handle all crises to avoid unnecessary escalation, arrests, incarceration, and shootings. We must also agree that Black and brown lives matter.

Now is always the right time to have these important discussions, to implement real changes, and to make investments that ensure that people with mental health disabilities have access to community-based services.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is the statewide protection and advocacy agency for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. For over 40 years, DRP has protected and advocated for the rights of people with disabilities so they may live the lives they choose, free from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and segregation.