NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Larry Brown, whose accused of violently attacking half a dozen people in the parking garage of Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown in April was arrested twice within 24 hours. The assault charges and the latest public intoxication charges for Brown have all been dismissed, after being found not competent to stand trial.
“How could this happen? What kind of failures in our societal safety net have allowed this to go on for so long,” Kira Austin-Young proclaimed to News 2.
She said Brown assaulted her in 2017, “I saw his mugshot and I recognized him as the guy that had run up from behind and grabbed me.”
Austin-Young said Brown’s case is a text book example of how we as a society are failing.
“It’s just a failure for us all kind of as a society, that we don’t have a way to treat people like this long term and have them be in stable housing or have access to regular medical care, things that may help him and it’s making us all less safe because of this situation,” Kira Austin-Young explained.
The Mental Health Cooperative is a non-profit that specializes in serving people who have severe and persistent mental illnesses. They also work as the psychiatric provider in Davidson County jails.
“There are some very difficult situations where we, despite the best effort of multiple systems, we are not able to get that person to stay in treatment and to be perfectly honest there is limited options right now. The only time we can force them into care against their will is when they are meeting that commitment standard, when they are in danger to themselves or others and they go back to the hospital, but again as they no longer meet that criteria a hospital has to release them. You can’t just keep them,” Amanda Bracht who is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at the Mental Health Cooperative told News 2.
A letter from Vanderbilt to a judge determined Brown is not competent to stand trial. The letter saying, Brown’s “competency deficits” are primarily due to a neurocognitive disorder that is “not likely to respond to treatment or improve with time.”
Bracht explained there are limited legal options in a case like this, saying the only time they can force someone into care against their will is when they meet the commitment standard.
“Right now, there’s not one solution to fix that problem. I think it’s going to involve really looking at each case Individually and also looking at does there need to be any legislative changes in terms of what we call mandatory outpatient treatment. We do have mandatory outpatient treatment in Tennessee, but those laws are very restrictive and very few people meet that criteria, but other states have expanded outpatient treatment orders, so that if an individual has this pattern at some point you can intervene and say you have to adhere to outpatient treatment and if you don’t we are going to re-hospitalize you even if you are not meeting that immediate threat to self or other criteria in our current emergency commitment laws.”
She added that psychiatric hospitals are short term stabilization, averaging 2 to 5 days before patients are released.
Victims like Austin-Young said there have to be better options.
“I certainly don’t think this guy needs to be on the street, certainly there are constitutional reasons why he is and continues, but he obviously poses a danger to others and to himself.”