A slender young woman with brown hair stood on a Commerce street in early March, ignoring a driver’s pleas to move.
She reached down and bent his front license plate, asked him for money and then yanked his windshield wiper off.
She appeared agitated – from drugs, mental illness or both. As Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies prepared to use physical force to subdue her, a plainclothes deputy and a social worker, both specially trained in mental health intervention, arrived.
Instead of trying to wrestle the woman into submission, they called an ambulance to take her to a psychiatric...