By Morgan W. Brown (Contact)
To be delivered to: Governor Peter Shumlin
MacAdam (Lee) Mason, 39-years-old and a resident of Thetford (Vermont), was experiencing a mental health crisis and had reached out for help by calling an area hospital on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. It is reported that during the phone call he expressed about how he was suicidal and might possibly harm others as well. The hospital in turn called the Vermont State Police. It is also reported that after the state police showed up at his residence, he was within the house and when they tried to talk with him, he would not do so. After state police called family members to the scene, reportedly in order to learn more about MacAdam in an attempt to deescalate things and family members arrived, he fled the house and took off into the woods outside the home. It has been reported that family members told state police about how MacAdam had disabilities, including epilepsy and in fact experienced a seizure the night before. It is still unclear, however it appears there was no mental health crisis response team called to the scene in an attempt to potentially aid in deescalating the situation if at all possible. Reports have stated about how MacAdam was gone for two hours or so in the woods and could not be located. Since state police had concerns that MacAdam might have had access to firearms or other weapons, upon his return the state police officers on scene confronted him with their firearms drawn and aimed at him. It is reported he was not complying fully with their commands, including that he lay belly down on the ground and he went to the squatting position instead. After noticing that MacAdam was unarmed, one of the officers put down his firearm and took out his Taser. Although there is a dispute about exactly what occurred next, apparently when MacAdam rose from a squatting position and was perceived to be approaching the officer with an intent to harm, the officer then shot him in the chest area with his Taser. MacAdam was unresponsive shortly afterwards and, despite several attempts at resuscitation and upon being transported to the same hospital he had earlier called for help, he was pronounced dead.
Read the statement presented by mental health and civil rights advocates during a press conference concerning these matters held in the Cedar Creek Room at the Vermont State House in Montpelier on Wednesday, June 27, 2012:
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