Wednesday, February 18, 2009

police brutality on man with schizophrenia

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
police brutality on man with schizophrenia

From the Galveston County Daily News:

Watch the dashcam video.
Man acquitted of resisting arrest charges

By Chris Paschenko
The Daily News
Published February 10, 2009

SANTA FE — A man who accuses two Santa Fe police officers of using excessive force was acquitted Monday of a resisting arrest charge.

Meanwhile, interim Police Chief Kenneth Campbell said he would meet with the city’s attorney to determine whether the police department should ask an outside agency to probe the matter.

Sergio Robles was walking down the middle of state Highway 6 on Aug. 21, 2006, when officers Eric Bruss and John Gates approached him.

Robles’ father had died three days earlier and Robles had not been taking medication he needs to control schizophrenia, his attorney, Kelly W. Case, said.

Dashboard cameras in two patrol cars recorded the encounter, one caught only video and one only audio of their encounter. The defense didn’t receive the tapes for more than a year, said Robles’ attorney, Kelly W. Case.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Robles accuses the officers of throwing him to the ground, yelling at him, punching and sitting on him.

The lawsuit is slated for trial this summer.

One officer threatened to kill Robles if he reached for the officer’s gun, and they repeatedly told Robles to, “stop resisting,” the lawsuit states.

Robles can be heard on the audio tape claiming he’s not resisting.

In discussing the incident on tape, one officer said he pulled in front of Robles, jumped out, told him to go to the front of the car and then it was, “on like Donkey Kong after that, and I wasn’t holding back,” the lawsuit states.

Police charged Robles with two counts of felony assault of a police officer, but the district attorney’s office reduced the charges to misdemeanor resisting arrest after viewing the tapes, Case said.

“It was as if these guys were at Gitmo (Guantanamo) Bay and were allowed to torture somebody,” Case said.

Robles, with his hands cuffed behind him, sat at the police booking room for five hours without water or medical care, Case said.

“We had statements from Bruss who told a sergeant, ‘Look at the guy’s face. (It’s) f----- up bad. I can’t put him in the cell. I think he’s going to die,’” Case said.

Robles lost consciousness and vomited during the ordeal.

Campbell said the city didn’t investigate the matter previously because a complaint was never filed against the officers.

“Clearly this is not the outcome we’d hoped for, but there is a pending lawsuit, which limits anything I can say,” Campbell said.

Robles’ resisting arrest trial in Judge Mary Crapitto’s County Court No. 1 began Feb. 3 and concluded Monday. The trial was delayed by the officers’ inability to remember facts of the case, Case said.

Bruss told defense attorneys 91 times that he didn’t recall facts of the case, Case said. Gates told the defense he didn’t know or couldn’t recall facts of the case 51 times, Case said.

The defense team had to refresh the officers’ recollection through evidence submitted at trial, Case said.

“It was a complete stonewall job,” Case said. “I’ve never seen such a pitiful job of preparation in my life.”

Robles’ lawsuit also names the city of Santa Fe for negligence for hiring both officers, who have since been promoted to sergeants, Case said.

It is unclear whether the independent civilian police review board is probing the matter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eroc bruss is in hot water again on a eebsite that targets medal of valor frauds.