NEWARK, NJ — A “suicidal” man held a knife to his throat. Police offered him some Chinese food. And that’s how a life was saved in Newark last weekend, authorities said.
On Saturday morning, local police officers talked a “disturbed” man into peacefully surrendering after he threatened to kill himself, according to the Newark Department of Public Safety.
The incident unfolded around 11:15 a.m. on the 100-block of Livingston Street, when officers arrived at a home to find a man holding a knife to his throat. Soon, a police negotiator responded to the home and kicked off a dialogue, speaking to the man through a closed door as concerned bystanders watch the encounter.
Their talk was captured on a bodycam video, which police released in redacted version.
“How are you doing?” a police negotiator asks the man in a calm voice, as if he’s meeting a longtime friend for coffee. “What’s going on? Talk to me?”
When the man threatens to hurt himself, the cop’s response is simple: “We don’t want that to happen.”
The discussion soon turns to the man’s family members. “It’s too late,” he repeats over and over.
“It’s never too late,” the cop emphasizes. “You have a lot of people here who care about you.”
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As the conversation continued, the man mentioned that he wanted Chinese food. It was a request that police were happy to take into their own hands, authorities reported.
Soon after getting his meal, the man put the knife down and surrendered. Emergency responders transported him to a nearby hospital for evaluation, police said.
“We had a good ending,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said. “It was handled very well by our trained professional.”
See related article: Newark SWAT, Police Use ‘Sensitivity’ To Avert Tragedy
Saturday’s incident isn’t the first time that people have used food or drink to help talk someone down from a suicide attempt.
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In August 2018, a delivery worker used quick thinking and a 12-pack of cold beer to talk a suicidal man off a ledge in Minnesota. “Beer has been bringing people together for a long, long time,” a Saint Paul police spokesperson said.
See related article: Delivery Worker Uses Beer To Talk Suicidal Man Off Ledge