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Subway Suspect's Past

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Pervaiz Shallwani reports in the WSJ:

Long before Erika Menendez was accused of pushing a Queens man to his death on the subway tracks, her mother had called police at least five times over the past seven years to report erratic, sometimes violent behavior related to her daughter's mental health, a law-enforcement official said.

Over the past 12 years, New York City police have records of 14 encounters with Ms. Menendez, 31 years old, including nine arrests separate from the calls for help from her mother, the official said.

Two of the arrests--both in 2003--resulted in assault charges on accusations of attacking men, the official said, adding that she pleaded guilty but received no jail time.

Ms. Menendez's mother, Maricela Mera, told police on four separate occasions between 2005 and 2012 that her daughter was acting violently and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, an illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. One police record said Ms. Menendez was diagnosed with schizophrenia, the official said.

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I was going to say that the system's failure to confine Ms. Menendez in some fashion before she killed someone reflects compassion run amok, but on reconsideration, I don't think that's true. What it reflects is the opposite of any adult version of compassion. It reflects callousness, to some degree toward Ms. Menendez and a larger degree toward her then-future victims; indifference; and sheer stupidity.

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