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Rashid Brimmage’s 15 years of being failed by New York’s mental-health system – Health News Today


The video footage shocked the city: Rashid Brimmage, 31, casually and apparently at random striking a 92-year-old woman walking down 3rd Avenue in Manhattan who falls and hits her head on a fire hydrant. She’s likely lucky to be alive.

Just as shocking: That June 12 episode was the culmination of 15 years of failure.

Brimmage has gone through a host of prisons and mental hospitals throughout his adult life — a series of revolving doors.

His rap sheet since age 16 runs to 103 arrests, a trail of growing violence, with charges for drug use, public indecency and assaulting a cop as well as sexual assaults.

The convicted sex offender was diagnosed with mental illness at 18 and attended special-education classes throughout his schooling for his “intellectual disabilities.” He’s had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations at Bellevue, Harlem and Lincoln hospitals and spent a total of 843 days in city jails from November 2010 to May 2018.

Bipolar, schizophrenic and homeless, Brimmage was on the streets and unmedicated June 12 because the city “lost track of him” amid the pandemic, prosecutor Courtney Razner told the court at his arraignment.

Arrested twice in February at separate incidents at a South Bronx Dunkin Donuts, once for threatening to kill a manager and then nearly two weeks later for punching a woman, Brimmage appeared in court March 8 — and was arrested a day later, this time punching a stranger on 125th Street. Police found synthetic marijuana K2, which can cause hallucinations, in his pockets.

Brimmage went to Lincoln Medical Center in the South Bronx for help. But staff there didn’t invoke Kendra’s Law to require him to continue treatment, nor provide him with a long-acting psychiatric medication via injection before releasing him June 12 — just hours before his now-infamous video.

That’s the central problem with the city’s vast panoply of mental-health services, including First Lady Chirlane McCray’s Thrive­NYC: None of it is genuinely dedicated to making sure the hardest cases get treated — and the public is kept safe.

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