Olympia, WA – A 35-year-old woman in crisis died after being administered a sedative by paramedics called in by the Olympia, WA, Police Department. Police say the woman pulled the fire alarm and was apparently having a mental health crisis or on drugs.
The victim, who was identified by the coroner as Vaneesa L. Hopson, was apparently “suffering from mental illness and/or acute effects of substance abuse.”
Officers tried to detain her for a mental health evaluation but she began kicking and lunging at them. According to Sam Costello, an Olympia Police Department spokesperson, she was handcuffed, initially “without incident.”
But when the unarmed woman fought the restraints, police held her on the ground as paramedics administered an anti-psychotic medication. Soon after, she stopped breathing.
She was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A few dozen protesters took to downtown Olympia streets in response to Hopson’s death. One person was arrested after police say he threw paint at the police station.
Thurston County Medic One, the local EMS center, says it’s cooperating with other local agencies, which are currently investigating Hopson’s death.