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What Three Words Need to be Rehearsed to Say to a Police Officer During a Mental Health Crisis #I’mNOTresisting

Chato Stewart: “I’m Not Resisting”
Caption: Ever been videoing, the cops show up but the Crazy Guy Knew the Secret Password? #ImNOTresisting
Continue: Panel One | Panel Two | Panel Three | Panel Four
In this four-part Mental Health Humor Cartoon series

“I’m Not Resisting” The 3 Words said to Police During a Mental Health Crisis

To stay alive during a mental heath crisis, when the police arrive, do the following. Drop anything in your hands, stretch out your arms with your hands open and palms facing the officer. Say it again loud “I’m Not Resisting”, and repeat it a few times..not too many because then, they might think your making “threats and ‘furtive movements’.”  Giving the officer just-cause to “Believe your armed with a firearm, knife or something.”  That’s when you can start writing your epitaph. #I’mNOTresisting

Remember to say, “I’m Not Resisting”, Respect the office, don’t run, don’t be belligerent, don’t be an ass hole, don’t be ignorant, don’t do anything that would give them any good reason to put the hand on that gun.  Statistics show, when a police officer pulls a gun on a mentally ill person, mortality rate of that mentally ill person doubles.  (Note the only reason why police officer should pull the gun of the holster is if they are, or the public is in a direct threat of injury or violent attack- extrapolated/summarized from the police book: it’s not a direct quote.)

To STOP Officer From Shootings Say “I’m Not Resisting.”

Let me share from my research over the last week. I’ve googled and read and watched many very sad videos that I will not share…their triggers, horrific, and outright blatantly scary. You would think watching, reading them that it would happen only in a Third World country.  But it’s in our backyards, in our own homes…in the USA.

Such as in May of this past year, a man in crisis was crying for help. Running in a circle in his courtyard, in front of his home having delusions, running in a circle four hours crying for help, “call the police”, “call the police” – when the police finally came, four officers in sync shot him with the tape Taser. Then proceeded to beat him unconscious with their heavy duty police flashlights. While continually tasering him. Claiming he was resisting. He died later that night. The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. The man asked for help, NO, he cried for help, and death came instead of help.

Time and time again individuals with mental illness die when they encounter the police when they’re in crisis: if they are doing one of the following:

  • Just committed a violent crime
  • Holding anything that could be considered a weapon
  • Actually holding a weapon that could be used for a violent crime
  • In the vicinity of where violent crime took place and resembling the perpetrator
  • In the vicinity of where a violent crime could take place and looks like a vagrant
  • Holding anything in their hands including a pair of glasses, a smart phone, and ice cream phone, a plastic toy gun
  • Hiding or wanting to run away and not talk to the police (resisting arrest)

When you’re mentally ill, you don’t have to commit a violent crime to be shot and killed by police. Google it.  But remember, you find a lot of very sad, very negative stories.
Just a side note, as for weapons, we all know someone with a mental illness should not possess any type of gun. At least, not have a gun in the house especially if they’re undergoing treatment or if they have a family.  If you have a gun, make sure it’s locked up outside of the house, and that a trusted family member has the key. (Let’s all be safe.)

But as for other weapons, if you live in the forest or have a jungle in your back yard, there is NEVER a reason for you to have a machete at your finger tip to wield at the police…whicht will get you shot every time, that goes for a samurai sword, klingon sword bat’leth for that matter.  Remember – drop it when the cops come and yell, “I’m Not Resisting.”

HOPE for Peace between the Police and Mentally Ill

In this past 4 posts, we’ve seen what can go wrong quickly when the people like me, some still living and with a mental disorder who are in crisis meets up with an police officer.  Around the United States there have been some horrific clashes fueled by stigma. Misunderstandings and Overzealous law enforcement trigger fingers.

Let’s face it, though it takes a lot of courage for law enforcement police officers to walk blindly into a situation, civil or criminal, where a mentally ill individual is in crisis.  There is no telling what anyone would do and someone with a mental illness (when confronted by the police)are not in a state where they’re thinking properly.

The police officers are trained; they handle matters a certain way.  But over the last few years, Nami has put together a program to help work directly with law enforcement and local providers to deal with individuals in a mental health crisis.  The program is called CIT (Crisis Intervention Team

“programs are local initiatives designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to people experiencing mental health crises. They are built on strong partnerships between law enforcement, mental health provider agencies and individuals and families affected by mental illness.”

Even though this program is saving lives and we recommend anyone reading this blog post to get involved with your local crisis intervention team.  You still need to remember the three magic words when ever you are in a crisis and you are confronted by law enforcement. What are they?” I’m not resisting!

Continue: Panel One | Panel Two | Panel Three | Panel Four
In this four-part Mental Health Humor Cartoon series


What Three Words Need to be Rehearsed to Say to a Police Officer During a Mental Health Crisis #I’mNOTresisting

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2016). What Three Words Need to be Rehearsed to Say to a Police Officer During a Mental Health Crisis #I’mNOTresisting. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 17, 2018, from


Last updated: 12 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Apr 2016
Published on All rights reserved.