News

News

After the Jan. 6 riot, police departments confront the mental health toll of the job

Jeffrey Smith died by suicide days after defending the Capitol on Jan. 6. His widow wants his death counted with those who died in the line of duty.

10/17/2021 8:40:00 PM

Efforts to address policing and hold law enforcement officers accountable have come with advocates and police depts. pushing for money to address mental health issues among the uniformed.

Jeffrey Smith died by suicide days after defending the Capitol on Jan. 6. His widow wants his death counted with those who died in the line of duty.

Samuel Corum / Getty Images fileOct. 17, 2021, 8:34 AM UTCByLeigh Ann CaldwellCHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — Police officers from around the nation arrived in Washington, D.C., last week to honor those from their ranks who have died in the line of duty. Two officers who died shortly after fighting rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, however, are not among those being honored.

Sources: OU hopes to finalize deal for Venables House Republican posts photo of his family holding guns days after Michigan school shooting Omicron live updates: COVID outbreak reported on cruise ship docking in New Orleans

Erin Smith, whose husband, Jeffrey Smith, died by suicide days after responding to the Capitol riot, wants to change that.“It would give him the recognition that he’s due,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Jan. 6, he would still be here.”Smith was a member of the D.C. Metropolitan Police. The other officer who is not being honored, Howard Liebengood, was a member of the U.S. Capitol Police and also responded to the riot. He took his own life on Jan. 10. Because they died by suicide, their deaths are not recognized as being in the line of duty.

Watch an exclusive interview with Erin Smith on Sunday’s"Nightly News."The debate over police suicide comes as the U.S. is in the middle of a national reckoning about policing, fueled by the killing of black men at the hands of police officers. The discussion has also led many to ask about the people behind the guns. Efforts to address policing and hold them accountable have come with advocates and police departments pushing for money to address mental health issues among the uniformed. headtopics.com

The police reform bill that fell apart in the Senate last month would have included tens of millions of dollars for police departments across the country to address the growing mental health needs.For families like the Smiths, help didn’t come soon enough.

Jeffrey Smith.Jack ReznickiErin and Jeffrey Smith were married in 2019. She says he was loving, caring and a dedicated friend. He left for work on Jan. 6 assuming he would be covering a run-of-the-mill protest, something he did often as a police officer in downtown D.C.

But soon after his shift started, she received a text that read, “London is Falling,” which she said meant that the Capitol had been overtaken.She watched the live coverage, checked Twitter and followed news alerts on her phone, looking for any sign that her husband was OK. But while he made it home that night, he wasn’t OK.

Jeffrey Smith was hit in the head at least once. His bodycam footage, shared with NBC News, shows that he was attacked with his own baton. A federal lawsuit filed by Erin Smith accuses two men of hitting him, but neither has been charged.Before he came home the day of the riot, Jeffrey Smith texted his wife to say he was going to the Fire and Police health clinic because he got “hit.” She said he was told to take Ibuprofen and go home. headtopics.com

Trump Media Company Says It Has Raised $1 Billion Incredible images shortlisted for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award See Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin Cover the Clash's 'Train in Vain' for Hanukkah Sessions

Immediately, Erin noticed a difference. Her husband, who had no prior history of depression or mental health issues, became irritable, distant, reclusive and angry.“He kind of declined as he was lying in bed. He didn't want to do anything, sleepless nights up pacing around, just not his normal self,” she said.

At his follow-up appointment eight days later, Erin Smith says, he was barely examined and ordered to go back to work the next day.She made his lunch, walked him to the car and kissed him goodbye. He never made it to work. He killed himself before he got there.

Erin and Jeffrey Smith.Jack ReznickiPolice officers who die while on duty from a gunshot, a car accident, a heart attack and even Covid are designated as “line-of-duty” deaths. The distinction gives officers official burials and recognition on the national police memorial, and surviving family get benefits, including health insurance.

In his review, the D.C. chief medical examiner said there was “a direct cause and effect relationship between the line of duty work trauma on Jan. 6 and Jeffrey Smith’s death on Jan. 15,” adding that Smith had “no prior history of depression, mental health issues or mental health treatment.” headtopics.com

But suicide is not considered a line-of-duty death, even though experts say many police suicides can be traced directly to their jobs.“First responders are subjected to stressful incidents more often than any other profession perhaps except for the military,” Steven Hough, co-founder of Blue H.E.L.P., an organization that provides mental health assistance for officers and tracks police suicide. He points out that heart and lung damage are treated as line-of-duty injuries.

“How can we say the mind is not impacted by the job?” Hough asked.In most years, suicide either matches or outpaces line-of-duty deaths. So far this year, 116 officers nationwide have died by suicide. (Because Covid is classified as a “line-of-duty” death, those numbers have increased this year and last.)

Why the threat to Roe may not save Democrats in 2022 Elon Musk Declared Greatest Gamer But Lousy Boyfriend in New Grimes Song Biden, Putin to hold video call next week as tensions grow over Ukraine

Erin Smith has asked the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board for line-of-duty distinction. They have not yet made a determination. Hough said police departments’ official recognition that a suicide is a line-of-duty death are “few and far between.”

D.C. Metropolitan Police have not responded to NBC News’ inquiries.Members of Congress are joining Erin’s fight. Some Democratic members of the Virginia congressional delegation sent a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urging her to provide line-of-duty death benefits.

“As a legal matter, Officer Smith’s symptoms were clearly the ‘sole and direct result of a personal injury’ since he had never experienced these symptoms prior to being attacked on January 6,” Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton write in the letter obtained by NBC News. “He cannot have had intent to bring about his own death if he was not in control of his actions due to severe brain trauma, any more than someone who suffers a medical emergency while driving and inadvertently crashes can be said to have had intent to bring about their own death.”

Kaine says the district should do the right thing, but he didn’t rule out legislation that would categorize suicide as a line-of-duty death.“Of course it's work related. And so even a ruling in these two cases that that's a line of duty death could tell other people who are dealing with, you know, their own unresolved emotions after January 6, that that's OK,” Kaine said,

Erin says the designation would go a long way.“The recognition,” she said, would say “that what they do is important not only for them and their legacy but for their families — just to know that the police department stood behind them.” Read more: NBC News »

Internet amused and horrified by mall's Christmas tree - CNN Video

Talking Christmas tree creeps people out while delighting them. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.

Leftists push for kleptocracy in US. Law enforcement power is only a worry for thieves, murderers and Socialists. Not condoning violence from any side but at least this 1 unarmed riot by the right was done by those who felt the government was going against the country while the left rioted all over the country for months against the country and against the government and over crap

January 6 or rather the riots by the left all over the country destroying, taking 19 lives, attacking cops and police stations, calls for them to be defunded. A typical twisted story and narrative by the left that distorts and deflects. How about everyone getting mental health allocation. universalhealthcare

Joe Biden wants you to forget what he did... At least 228 officers at the local, state and federal level died by suicide in 2019, the highest number the organization has reported yet. Reports fell with the pandemic in 2020 to 174, and so far this year, the tragic number is 79. Chicago has the highest. Jan6 has the lowest!

Maybe treating sociopathic racism as a mental illness would help.

Capitol Police Sergeant: Honoring Flag From Jan. 6 Attack Is a 'Total Disgrace'“That flag… probably was the flag that they hit me with,” Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said, referring to the flag carried at the insurrection that attendees at a GOP rally… Love how folks who call themselves Patriots are so into insurrection. brooklynmutt Rolling stone is breitbart for libs

Trump being subpoenaed to testify before Jan. 6 committee 'not far-fetched': Rep. Plaskett'Not only the deposition of the president himself, but records related to him. Whether those be cellphone, Twitter accounts, communications with individuals,' said Democratic Rep. Stacey Plaskett. It IS far fetched. If they subpoena Trump, how will they look when he brazenly dismisses it if they can't even get the DOJ to enforce a subpoena against Steve Bannon? They will look foolish and weak, that's how they'll look.

Jan. 6 Committee Tests Congress’s Waning Power to Command TestimonyA standoff between Trump associates and a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots shows how Congress’s powers to conduct investigations in the face of defiant witnesses have eroded sharply in recent years. SHIB ❤️ shibainu 👍🚀 ShibaSwap 🧨🧨🧨 shibabone 🌹🌹🌸🌸 SHIBARMY❤️ shibainu 👍🚀 ShibaSwap 🧨🧨🧨 leash 🌹🌹🌸🌸 SHIBARMY❤️ shibainu 👍🚀 ShibaSwap 🧨🧨🧨 SHIBA_INU_COIN🌹🌹🌸🌸 💎💎 shiba 💎💎 That makes no sense at all how much longer will steve bannons liver work and why should we wait that long

Capitol Police Officer Charged With Obstruction of Justice Related to Jan. 6 RiotMichael Riley allegedly told a contact on Facebook to delete posts showing that the person was at the Capitol when a mob tried to stop the certification of President Biden’s election. What about the one who shot unarmed Ashli Babbitt? 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 thanks

Biden says those who refuse to testify in Jan. 6 probe should be prosecutedU.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday the U.S. Justice Department should prosecute people who defy subpoenas to testify before a congressional select committee probing the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Of course he did Bannon, Trump and others belong in jail. Yep

DOJ pledges independence after Biden calls for prosecutions of those who defy Jan. 6 committee subpoenas'The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop.' The DOJ needs to step up. Just get the lead out of your ass, it's been long enough. I wish ours would