Community comes together to hold vigil for man shot to death by North Royalton police
NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s been six years, to the day, since Julia Rielinger called North Royalton police for help, to take her mentally ill brother to the hospital for treatment, but sadly that day ended in tragedy.
Julia Rielinger’s brother, Jun Wang, was shot to death by North Royalton police officers in her own home on Oct. 28th, 2016.
The community held a vigil for him on Friday and called on police to make sweepings changes when it comes to handling mental health crises.
“For six years there’s no day I will not miss him, I will not cry for him and that’s why I need to fight so I will not feel more guilty if somebody like him dies in police hands from the mistake from certain officers,” Rielinger said.
Rielinger’s 45-year-old brother suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He was living with her in North Royalton but had recently stopped taking his meds, which is why she called police to take him to the hospital for treatment. Rielinger claims police didn’t wait for EMS, ignored her requests to let her talk to her brother first, and her warnings that he couldn’t understand English and that he was afraid of police.
“There was no ambulance, no mobile crisis team, no psychologist, no translator,” said Activist Josiah Quarles. “There was just a badge, a gun, and insistence and an entry into a home against Julia’s will.”
On the anniversary of Wang’s death, the community came together to celebrate his life, to call for justice, and to push for police reform especially when it comes to the way officers respond to mental health crises.
“We know that police officers are not equipped mentally, psychologically, spiritually to deal with the situations that Jun and Julia faced on that day,” Quarles said. “That there are clinicians, that there are people with lived experience, there are community members that can lend their hands, their help, and their spirit to this effort so that we don’t have to say no anymore.”
The two officers involved in Wang’s shooting still work for the department and neither faced criminal charges for Wang’s death.
Rielinger is suing North Royalton and the police department claiming her brother’s death was preventable. She is demanding both officers face criminal charges.
“That’s why I keep going on with my life is we have to change the culture,” Rielinger said.
19 News has reached out to the city for comment on this case, but said they will not comment until the lawsuit is “behind them.”
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