NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Local activists stood in the Chuck E. Cheese parking lot Thursday morning demanding justice after a woman was arrested inside the restaurant on Saturday.
“When will Black mental health matter?” Stand As One president Justin Hunt said.
Lowcountry activists are searching for answers after a woman was arrested after experiencing a mental health episode on July 16.
“A 33-year-old Black queen by the name of Whitney Brown was experiencing a mental health crisis,” Hunt said. “When North Charleston Police responded to the incident, she was placed in handcuffs and placed under arrest.”
They say Brown was diagnosed with a mental health disorder at an early age.
“Whitney has been diagnosed with bipolarism,” community activist Elvin Speights said. “She’s had this all her life, since she was 14.”
Speights says the whole situation was handled improperly.
“The security guard wasn’t properly trained,” he said. “The people here didn’t even care, and they beat her. They beat her like an animal.”
Now, they want to know why Brown wasn’t taken to a mental health facility instead.
“They were able to pull and review her state-documented mental health paperwork,” Hunt said, “yet they continued to take her to Al Cannon Detention Center.”
The activists believe mental health issues experienced by people of color are viewed differently than other groups.
“We’re often noticed to be criminals or noticed to be dangerous,” Hunt said.
Now, they want the City of North Charleston to issue more funding for mental health initiatives.
“If they have resources to put toward $82 million projects for a park,” activist Jesse Williams said, “they have resources to hire all these employees, they should have resources to support mental health.”
News 2 reached out to the North Charleston Police Department for a statement, however, they declined to comment.