Heart-thumping footage has emerged of Georgia police convincing a man not to kill himself by showing him pictures of his baby and promising him that all is not lost.
In the July incident, a distraught man can be seen holding a knife up to his body as Henry County police attempt to engage him in conversation. “We’re not giving up on you … We’re not. We’re here and we want to help you,” the police explained.
“You want to see your 1-year-old again?” officers continued, as the man can be heard sobbing. “You have to drop the knife…your son hasn’t given up on you. He needs you.”
One officer, who had responded to a previous call at the same address, then began to talk to the distressed man more about his kids, even finding a photo for him to look at.
“I know how much you love your son — it’s not lost, man, it’s right there. Look. Please stop. Look at his face. He needs you,” the officer said. “Don’t do this to him. This will affect him in ways you won’t even understand,” adding that it was not too late for a “do-over” in the man’s life.
Eventually, the police manage to retrieve the knife, after which they insist that he is “not under arrest.”
“You did the right thing today, OK?” officers explained, handcuffing him for his own safety before transporting him to a medical facility.
While the footage is harrowing, officers say it is essential that members of the public watch it in order to learn how to respond to someone who is in suicidal crisis. They noted that Facebook had removed the bodycam footage from their page because it mentioned “suicide,” but added that they were urging the company to reinstate the images.
“We are working with them to restore the post, including the video. We hope that their review of the footage shows them that this was a very positive event that resulted in a young man living to see another day and getting the medical care he needed,” the force wrote in a Facebook post.
“We believe this video, though hard to watch, is important to learn from,” they added. “The way our officers communicate with this young man is an example everyone should follow.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re looking for counseling services in your area, consult the Christian Counselors Network.