HARRISBURG - The family of Osaze Osagie announced today that it intends to file a notice of claim against the State College Police Department and the police officers who killed their son. In March, a State College police officer shot and killed Osagie in his apartment building while serving a mental health warrant.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania issued a statement in response to the announcement of the filing. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“On the day Osaze died, State College police knew that he was in the midst of a mental health crisis. Osaze’s father had shared key information about Osaze’s state of mind, in an effort to help his son. It is a tragedy that the family’s attempt to assist their son led to his death.
“Based on the facts that have been shared publicly, State College police completely mishandled the situation. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. In at least 25 percent of situations in the United States in which a police officer kills a person, the victim has a mental health disability. The State College Police Department claims that the officers who killed Osaze followed their training. If that is the case, then their training needs to be changed.
“Nothing that any of us do now can bring back Osaze. While it is little solace for the Osagie family, this filing will at least provide more information about what happened that day, who was involved, and how State College police are trained to address people with mental health disabilities. This filing could force the borough to be more transparent than it has been to date. Our hope is that another tragedy like this can be prevented.”