Cops in New York have started a new drive to round up mentally ill people in the city before they have committed crimes, it has been emerged.

According to new information uncovered by the New York Post, police are drawing up a hit list of people with mental health disabilities in a bid to get them off of the streets.

They will also use tracking technology under the scheme which will enable officers to force people deemed to have mental health issues to take court-ordered tablets.

Under the scheme, police officers will be scouring the streets on the hunt for suspects who will be forcibly dragged into hospital to take medication.

The police claim that it will make the streets safer for citizens in New York and have pointed to two reported cases in which a mentally ill person was involved in an attack.

One of those cited cases was a racially motivated attack which involved assailant Erika Menendez, who targeted an Iranian man based on her political views which were fueled by media reports on terrorism. She told the police that she targeted Sunando Sen and pushed him in front of an oncoming train in Queens because she “hated Hindus and Muslims since 2001 since they put down the Twin Towers.”

It is not known however, whether Menendez was on medication at the time of the attack.

The arrest warrants the police are pursuing do not mean the targets are wanted for crimes, but rather that they are simply suspected of avoiding medical treatment, according to the Post.

The policy has attracted criticism from civil rights campaigners who view it as a violation of individual liberties.

US Judge Andrew Napolitano, called the policy “unconstitutional” and said:  “the Constitution says the only way you can arrest someone is if you see them committing a crime or have probable cause to believe they have committed – not are going to commit – but have committed a crime.”

Critics of the scheme have also expressed their concerns over  of psychotropic drugs and pointed to cases where medication has actually worsened mental health conditions.

Lawrence Hunter of the Social Security Institute, said: “In virtually every mass school shooting during the past 15 years, the shooter has been on or in withdrawal from psychiatric drugs.

“Yet, federal and state governments continue to ignore the connection between psychiatric drugs and murderous violence, preferring instead to exploit these tragedies in an oppressive and unconstitutional power grab to snatch guns away from innocent, law-abiding people.”

Those responsible for enforcing the policy have also expressed their concerns.

One of the main concerns will be the difficulty in tracking down those who are homeless and included on the hit list.

A law enforcement officer was reported by the Post as saying: “There’s no rhyme or reason to their craziness.”


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