A mentally ill man died not long after being pepper sprayed, the New Zealand Herald reported, prompting criticism of a “cavalier approach to using incapacitating weapons.”
Henry Bailey was confronted by police responding to an emergency call by his roommate, who said that Bailey had assaulted him.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Bailey fought briefly with the officers, who tried to handcuff him, then carried out a threat to use pepper spray to subdue him.
A neighbor said Bailey, who was in his 40s, had been released from mental health services about a year ago, and was well- behaved.
Bailey is the fourth mentally ill person to die following pepper- spray use in New Zealand in nine years, though the spray itself was not always blamed for those deaths.
A mental health executive said there was little research about the use of pepper spray — and also Tasers — on mentally ill people, and one doctor said he was concerned about whether “protocols for the use of pepper spray” were followed with Bailey.
“Pepper-spray death brings research call”
New Zealand Herald, February 8, 2008