Julius Graves

Services for Julius Graves will be held Saturday, April 27 at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ, 1500 Union Blvd., with visitation at 10 a.m. and the homegoing ceremony at 11 a.m.

Graves passed on Thursday, April 18 from injuries sustained when he was tased and sedated by St. Louis police and fire department personnel on Saturday, April 13.

His father, Larry Graves, said his son was mentally ill and likely having a psychotic episode when police were called to the scene. He said the family welcomes the public to his services and hopes his son’s death calls attention to the need for first responders to be better trained in handling the mentally ill.

According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Julius Graves was “acting irrationally and in a threatening manner” at a bus stop at Hampton and Clayton when they were called to the scene.

“Upon arrival, the officers located the suspect who exhibited signs intoxication as well as expressing suicidal and homicidal tendencies. Officers attempted to engage the suspect in conversation in an effort to deescalate the incident to no avail. Due to the suspect's behavior, officers requested EMS,” a police spokesperson summarized the incident.

“Shortly after EMS arrived the suspect suddenly ran into heavy traffic across Clayton toward Hampton, and resisted officers attempts to stop him. Officers attempted to utilize their department issued tasers, however they were ineffective. EMS sedated the suspect and transported him to a hospital where he was listed in critical/unstable condition.”

The police also said that hospital staff “located suspected narcotics on the suspect and notified officers who issued him a summons” before he died.

Larry Graves said his son, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about 20 years ago, had been tased by law enforcement twice before during psychotic episodes.

The American asked St. Louis police about any training and preparation to deal with the mentally ill on the part of the police who responded to the scene. A spokesperson said the department is restricted from providing “an individually identifiable personnel record,” but that over 700 officers in the department have completed a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training, which discusses the handling of suspected mentally ill persons.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis Fire Department also was asked for an incident report and about any training and preparation to deal with the mentally ill on the part of the EMS personnel who responded, but has not responded.

These responses will be included in this report when and if received.

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