Cops Beat Diabetes Victim for “Using Syringe”: Report


Rebekah Kearn | Courthouse News Service.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — With police departments under increased public scrutiny for brutality against minorities, a Hispanic man in Long Beach claims seven officers attacked him for publicly injecting insulin.

Miguel Angel Llamas, age 67, is an insulin-dependent diabetic on dialysis with medical tubing attached to his arms, according to a 16-page complaint he filed Thursday against the City of Long Beach, Calif., and the seven accused officers.
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He says he was outside of a neighbor’s house on the morning of March 11, 2015, when he needed insulin.

“As Mr. Llamas was in the process of injecting his insulin, he was brutally attacked by Long Beach police officers, defendants David Dougherty, David T. Okerman, Daniel Visser, Eric Hubbard, Conrad Penn, Jacob Dillon, Eduardo Saldana, and Doe officers 1 through 5. Said defendants attacked plaintiff wrongfully believing he was injecting heroin,” the complaint states. “Two of these aforementioned defendants approached plaintiff with their hand guns drawn on plaintiff, as they gave plaintiff commands to move to the side.”

The lawsuit continues, “One of the aforementioned defendants then grabbed plaintiff by the arms and proceeded to yank and pull on plaintiff by the arms in an extremely forceful and violent manner. The unreasonable and unnecessary yanking and pulling of plaintiff’s arms caused plaintiff’s medical tubing to become disconnected, causing plaintiff to suffer severe pain and visible bleeding. One of the other defendants then slammed plaintiff up against a wall causing plaintiff to strike his head.”

Llamas claims he begged them to stop, and when he asked why they were attacking him, one of the officers kicked him, roughly handcuffed him, and left him in a patrol car for 15 minutes.

He says he was released and not charged with any crime. None of the police officers offered to help Llamas get medical care even though he was visibly bleeding, the lawsuit states.

Long Beach authorities know the city’s police officers have a history of excessive force against citizens, but have done nothing to address this abuse of authority and are thus liable for Llamas’ constitutional and human rights violations, according to the complaint.

Annette Cox with the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office told Courthouse News in an email that the city had not yet been served and could not comment at this time.

Llamas seeks special and exemplary damages for unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, denial of medical care, assault and battery, constitutional violations, and municipal liability.

He is represented by Humberto Guizar of Montebello, who did not immediately return emailed requests for comment sent Friday afternoon.

Published by Courthouse News Service.