Settlement Reached in Shooting Death of Mentally Ill Somali Man

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The family of a mentally ill Somali man fatally shot by Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies has reached a settlement with the County.

Franklin County Commissioners have approved a half-million dollar settlement with the family of Nasir Abdi. Deputies shot 23-year-old Abdi after he swung a knife at them in December 2005.

The Franklin County Probate Court ordered the sheriff’s department to take Abdi into custody and transport him to a mental hospital. When deputies arrived Abdi was holding a knife. According to court documents, Abdi did not respond to verbal demands to drop the knife. He was then sprayed with pepper spray. When deputies blocked his way and tried to grab him they say Abdi swung the knife. He was then was fatally shot in the chest. Abdi was shot less than one minute after deputies arrived to his apartment.

Nasir Abdi’s family filed the suit in US District Court because they say sheriff’s deputies were not properly trained to deal with a mentally ill person. Abdi, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, had stopped taking his medication.

In a recent decision, the judge noted the deputies had very little training on how to deal with the mentally ill. One deputy had no training on the mentally ill. The other received only several hours of general instruction on coping with the mentally ill about 18 years ago. Neither had any training on the use of force on the mentally ill.