CLEVELAND — Tanisha Anderson’s family is about to complete a mission.
“My energy now is to make sure the history books reflect Tanisha’s law,” said Tanisha’s uncle, Mike Anderson.
This weekend marks the eighth anniversary of Tanisha’s death after being restrained by Cleveland police during a mental health crisis.
Anderson visited the Cleveland State University campus to speak with Tanisha’s students.
He also shared with News 5 Investigators a draft of what he would like to see as Tanisha’s law in Cleveland.
The hope is to get people talking about mental health and to do more to help those in crisis.
“It’s a tribute to your niece. I love it,” Anderson said.
He stood next to a picture of his niece in a space full of open ears.
“Why don’t you take a look at this, you can take it with you,” he told a student.
It was mid-morning on the student center campus.
“It happened to him in 2014,” Anderson said.
Students rushing to class stopped to listen to Anderson tell her niece’s story.
“His mom passed away and I kind of picked up where she left off,” Anderson said.
Tanisha Anderson died in November 2014 after her family repeatedly called 911 for mental health help. She was bipolar and schizophrenic.
But instead of helping her, the police handcuffed Tanisha face down on an icy sidewalk. She later died in hospital.
“It’s different emotions, you know what I mean, but I have to keep being strong and remembering that it’s actually a goal and I’m glad I was chosen to make that goal,” said Anderson.
Anderson has spent the past year and a half working with a small team of professionals in Cleveland State on how to connect with students and the wider community about the mental health response.
Part of their discussions led them to date on campus to honor Tanisha and work on building a network.
“As a citizen, as a resident, as a family member and as a professional, there are ways to use this awareness to engage and encourage people to push for change,” said said Dr. Anne Galletta, chair and professor in the Department of Curriculum and Foundations.
Anderson shared with News 5 a bill from Tanisha, which Cleveland Councilman Stephanie Howse plans to introduce.
Tanisha’s law would provide alternatives for those in crisis other than the police to include vehicle transportation and locations.
Howse says that as a city there are already resource elements, but the problem is the funding to make them readily available and let people know they exist.
“We need to do a much better job of ensuring people know who to call, where to go – and when that call is made and help arrives, that help is compassionate, caring and defuses in the appropriate way,” said Dr. Victoria Winbush, an instructor at the Cleveland State Department of Social Work.
Last month, Mayor Bibb and the police chief discussed a $5 million proposal to link more police officers with mental health providers after the early success of co-responsor programs.
“We need this to happen 24/7, not just in certain areas, but across the city – in the greater Cleveland community,” Winbush said.
Mike Anderson says he stands up for his niece and people who might need help one day, like she did.
“So when it happens again, they’ll know how to deal with a mental health crisis,” Anderson said.
Anderson says it’s not about reopening a case or smearing the police; it is about change and nothing else.
A date has not been set to introduce the order. Anderson says they are still working on the language.
Watch live and local news anytime:
News 5 to 5
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus top news alerts, the latest weather forecasts, traffic updates and more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
You can also watch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We are also on Amazon-Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.
#Tanishas #law #closer #reality #family #shines #light #mental #health