As an overweight man, adult onset diabetes is one of the things that makes me consider dropping a few pounds. But I’m still so young, so invincible, that long-term health concerns aren’t really enough to stop me from having an extra helping of Christmas goose (not that I even know anybody who eats a freaking goose like some character in a Dickens novel).
But overaggressive cops beating the crap out of me because of the color of my skin? That is a real threat. That is a “health concern” I respect. I know that, for instance, I should never ever jog with a golf club if I want to avoid police suspicion.
I didn’t think that having diabetes could lead to a police beating. But according to a lawsuit filed by John Harmon against the sheriff’s department in Hamilton County, Ohio, that’s exactly what happened to him. Harmon alleges that the cops kicked the crap out of him because he was driving while having diabetes.
Driving with diabetes while being black, of course…
The report is from Cincinnati.com. The 52-year-old Harmon alleges that low blood sugar caused him to swerve into another lane. He was then pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. And then things got out of hand:
What happened over the next two minutes and 20 seconds should never happen to anyone, Harmon said.
Deputies broke the window of Harmon’s SUV, shocked him seven times with a Taser, cut him out of his seatbelt and wrestled him to the ground, severely dislocating his elbow, and causing trauma to his shoulder and thumb…
The deputies’ actions prompted a state highway patrol trooper to pull one deputy away from Harmon because he was so concerned about how Harmon was being treated. That trooper alerted his bosses to the deputies’ actions.
Even after learning the incident was a medical emergency, deputies charged Harmon with resisting arrest and failing to comply with a police officer’s order.
Harmon was shocked seven times with a Taser? The cops hit a 52-year-old seven times with a Taser? Did they think they were arresting a triceratops?
You know me — I don’t like to race-bait — but come on. I don’t care if this guy was yelling “yo’ mama” when they pulled him over. Cops have to stop acting like their Tasers are freaking toys:
“I do think that maybe (race) was a factor,” Harmon said. “Just out of common decency some of the things that were done here don’t make sense, even if I were drunk.”
Harmon and his wife (memo to cops: black men particularly appreciate being humiliated and attacked when their wives are in the car; thanks a bunch for that extra helping of emasculation) have filed a lawsuit alleging everything under the sun:
The couple allege that Harmon’s civil rights were violated because of his false arrest, malicious prosecution and the excessive force used. They also cited battery; malicious prosecution; intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium. They want an unspecified amount of compensation.
The allegations in the lawsuit are simply… shocking:
Deputy Wolf saw Harmon driving a 1998 Ford Expedition erratically near Wolfangel Road and pulled Harmon over.
Wolf, his gun drawn, and Wissel approached the SUV, the lawsuit said.
“The deputy’s face was extremely contorted, he was screaming,” Harmon said. “I remember being taken aback, recoiled and thought, ‘What’s going on?’ I was being presented with pure evil, it was a chilling experience.”
Wolf smashed the driver’s side window.
Wissel shocked Harmon with a Taser for the first time. Deputy Haynes responded to the deputies’ call for backup.
Harmon said the officers tried to yank him out of the SUV, but he was caught in his seat belt. He was stunned with a Taser again.
Wissel cut Harmon out of his seat belt. In his suit, Harmon said he was “violently dragged from the vehicle, thrown on the ground, kicked in the head by a boot, and stomped mercilessly while laying on his back.”
“It all happened so quick, I didn’t have time to think or react,” Harmon said. “I just remember being on the ground, the intense pain and being pummeled.”
The attack was so brutal Harmon said he thought it was a gang attack, not a traffic stop.
Harmon would be shocked five more times. In all, three times by Wissel and four times by Haynes.
Usually in these situations cops close ranks. Not this time. Even in real time there was one cop who tried to stop the other cops from beating on this man:
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Sanger also drove up, his patrol car dashboard camera capturing some of what happened and the sounds of what appear to be a beating.
Sanger told sheriff’s investigators he saw Harmon on the ground, crying out in pain, with several deputies on top of him. He added Harmon was complying and at least one of the Taser hits was excessive use of force.
Sanger separated Wolf and Harmon twice because of Wolf’s abusive treatment, according to the lawsuit.
If the allegations are true, good for Trooper Sanger. This kind of alleged police brutality will never stop until some cops start standing up to the bad apples wearing a badge.
But it’s terrifying that this all started because of low blood sugar. If this is truly the future I have to look forward to, I’m buying P90X today. I’d like to go my life being black, driving in cars, and not getting Tasered seven freaking times.
I didn’t know that was so much to ask.
Lawsuit: Diabetic ‘pummeled,’ shocked by Hamilton County deputies [Cincinnati.com / Cincinnati Enquirer]