Police assault sick, naked man for breathing while Black

Policemen abusing their power is a daily occurrence, but this story demands attention because police beat up a sick, naked Black man in his own home! Police could have simply looked at the man’s photos to determine he was no burglar. They instead chose violent force:

According to the one-paragraph [police] statement, Hartford police found an “unknown male subject on the third floor” of a Stony Creek townhome who was taken into “temporary custody” before paramedics treated him for a known medical condition….

The unknown male subject found in the home? He was actually the 34-year-old African-American who owns the home and has lived there for four years.

And the part about taking him into temporary custody?

Hartford [Vermont] police neglected to say that in the process he was: blasted with pepper spray; struck with a nightstick; handcuffed, wrapped in a blanket and hauled — naked — out of his home, according to a neighbor and what the man says police later told him. When the neighbor tried to tell cops that the handcuffed man on the pavement was the homeowner — not a burglar — he said he was threatened with arrest for interfering in police business.

Police actually refused to listen to the retired cop who lived next door who tried to share critical information (that the “burglar” lived there and that the “burglar” was suffering from a glucose-related illness):

McKaig, 71, spent 30 years as a police officer, heading the narcotics investigation division of the Montclair, N.J., police department…

“I know the man who lives there,” McKaig recalled telling [the police officer]. “He’s a black man with a medical problem who was recently taken by ambulance to the hospital.”

…While talking with the officer stationed at Burwell’s front door, McKaig said he heard a “hell of a commotion” from inside. Minutes later, police brought Burwell outside, McKaig told me, “They dragged the poor guy down the stairs.”

…“We were trying to get them to understand that Wayne has a medical condition, but they didn’t listen to us,” said Betsy McKaig, who had joined her husband outside to observe the commotion.

Bob McKaig said he tried telling the female officer that he was a former cop who could vouch that the man in custody was the homeowner. “Sometimes (other cops) will extend the courtesy of listening to you when you tell them that you’re a retired officer. Not this one. She jumped all over me and said I was interfering with police work.

“If you don’t leave, ‘I’ll lock you up right now,‘ ” he recalled the officer saying.

Everyone understands that cops have dangerous jobs and always a need to be careful in the line of duty, McKaig said. “But you also have to take your time to assess the situation. They didn’t do that.

“Think about it, realistically,” he went on. “A naked burglar?”

Posted by James on Monday, June 07, 2010