top of page

The Family Of Terrence Coleman To Receive $4.7 Million After Police Fatally Shot Him During Mental Health Crisis

In 2016, Terrence Coleman, a 31-year-old Black man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was fatally shot by Boston police at his South End home during a mental health crisis. The incident unfolded after his mother, Hope Coleman, called 911 seeking an ambulance to take her son to the hospital, explicitly requesting no police involvement. However, police accompanied the EMTs as per policy, and Terrence, reportedly wielding a 5-inch kitchen knife, was deemed a threat by the responding officers, leading to his death.

"No mother should have to witness her child killed at the hands of police and fight, the way that I have had to fight now for so many years, to gain accountability," Hope Coleman said in a statement released by her lawyers. "Nothing can bring Terrence back, but today at least some measure of justice has been done."

The local prosecutors, led by then-Suffolk County DA Daniel Conley, concluded the shooting was justified, prompting Hope Coleman to file a federal lawsuit in 2018. After years of legal battles, the City of Boston agreed to a $4.7 million settlement with Hope in 2023, acknowledging the tragic event and the prolonged fight for accountability.

A 2023 review by the Boston Globe pointed to an increasing number of fatalities involving individuals in mental health crises when police are the first responders. Following Terrence Coleman's death and similar incidents, there have been calls for change in Boston, advocating for public health officials rather than police to respond to nonviolent or mental health calls. However, as of 2023, these proposed changes had not been implemented.

The settlement and the circumstances surrounding Terrence Coleman's death underline the urgent need for systemic changes in how emergency services respond to mental health crises, aiming to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Link: Boston


bottom of page