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Post date: April 30 1999

Spitzer Statement On Subway Incident

Twice this year, individuals with severe mental illness have pushed commuters in front of subway trains. These acts of deranged violence threaten to undermine the progress we have made in establishing a safer city and state.

While the facts of the latest incident are still being confirmed, this much is clear: The individual accused in the attack had a history of severe mental illness. He was acting irrationally prior to the incident and apparently chose his victim at random.

Under a legislation I have proposed, close friends, family members and non-profit service providers who observe a mentally ill person acting irrationally or who know that the individual is not taking prescribed medication may -- with the assistance of a psychiatrist and if certain conditions are met -- have the individual hospitalized for observation and treatment.

This legislation -- called Kendra’s Law after the tragic victim of January’s subway pushing incident -- would protect society and the mentally ill.

I again urge the State Legislature to act as soon as possible on Kendra’s Law and reduce the likelihood of still further tragedies.