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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The shooting death of Dante Kittrell has once again emboldened activist groups like Black Lives Matter to demand change in how police handle situations of people struggling with mental health.

Kittrell was shot to death by police who thought he had a gun during a confrontation last month. Turns out the gun was not real, but prosecutors have decided that the cops who shot Kittrell had no way of knowing that when he pointed the gun at them. The shooting the deemed a “justifiable homicide.”

Still, Marcia Kittrell, Dante’s mother, said that she believes she could have talked her son down before police decided to shoot him.

“They would not let me go to my baby. They pushed me back,” she said at a town hall event put on by the South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter Tuesday.

“We’ve gotten comfortable with existing structures that decide things like when to de-escalate a scene and when enough talking has happened and deciding when to shoot,” said Dé Bryant, Professor of Psychology at Indiana University-South Bend, at the town hall.

She is among those in the community advocating for medically led crisis response teams to help de-escalate these types of situations. Bryant and others with BLM want South Bend to adopt a similar program like in Indianapolis called MCAT (Mental Crisis Assistance Team).

This team of mental health experts responds with police officers to certain situations to offer guidance on how to proceed with someone who may be having a mental health crisis.

“We know who to talk to try and figure out how to make them work,” Bryant said. “We know the people in the community who are already working really hard to help people live through, and become survivors, rather than victims of trauma.”

The South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter plans to formulate a framework for this type of response team for South Bend and present it to city leaders, with the help of councilor Henry Davis, Jr., at their meeting next week.