the Disillusioned kid: Here We Go Again...
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here We Go Again...

A lawsuit filed in the US yesterday alleges (via) that police in Chicago beat and tasered a mentally retarded man:
On Aug. 25, 54-year-old Alfredo Lee Florez was stepping out of his neighbor's house when plainclothes policemen jumped out of their car, dragged him to the ground, shot him with three taser probes and beat him while a dozen community members shouted that he was retarded and couldn't understand them, witnesses say.

"It's an outrage that a mentally disabled man, one of the most vulnerable members of society, would be attacked, completely unprovoked, by the very people charged with serving and protecting him," said Blake Horwitz, the attorney for Mr. Florez and his mother, Luella Florez.

Around 1 p.m. that day Mr. Florez, who is visibly disabled, walked two doors down S. Aberdeen St. for a bag to bring groceries home from the church, as he did every Thursday since his mother is wheelchair-bound. When he saw the police he tried to go back inside his neighbor's house.

The police then jumped out of their car to apprehend Mr. Florez, who kept shouting, "What are you doing to me?" Alerted by his screams, Mr. Florez's neighbors gathered in the yard to plead with the police to stop. A reverend and family friend ran up to the porch while Mr. Florez's younger brother, also mentally retarded, begged them to quit hurting his brother.

They watched as police shot three taser wires into Mr. Florez’s back. After three to four minutes of electrical current going through his body, Mr. Florez crumpled, only to be beat further by uniformed police responding to a call for backup. He was cuffed, transported to the hospital and later released. The police filed no charges against him.

Florez's neighbors said the uniformed police who patrol the neighborhood know the man is harmless and leave him alone. Detectives are responsible for the beating, they say, leaving Mr. Florez too scared to go anywhere by himself. Mrs. Florez said she welcomed the filing of the lawsuit because she fears that if the police are not called to account, "he'll be dead soon."

"This is a clear case of excessive force," Mr. Horwitz said. "Tasers are supposed to be an alternative to deadly force, not a cattle prod."
Sounds like another one for the "non-lethal alternative" to firearms file.

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