Cops Accused of Unthinkable Act Against Mentally Disturbed Patient

What is with the cops in the NYPD? I'm really hoping that the second story in a week of New York police officers allegedly behaving badly is just a fluke, because personally, I like my nice little world where cops are supposed to be the good guys.

On the heels of a story about cops falsely accusing a diabetic teenager of attempted murder and denying him insulin to get a confession, we have another doozy involving a sick individual. Two FDNY EMTs have turned four police officers into the authorities, claiming that they beat up a handcuffed patient on a stretcher and only stopped when the EMTs physically intervened.


According to the report, the July 20 drama started when the mentally disturbed man spit on and swore at the Emergency Service Unit Officers. In a written statement submitted to the FDNY, the EMTs claim that the cops responded by punching him the face multiple times, hauling him off the stretcher, and then throwing him back onto it.

The EMTs had been dispatched to transfer the patient to a nearby hospital, and ESU was called in when he became combative and started banging his head on the wall.

According to the Unusual Occurrence Report filed with the FDNY by one of the EMTs:

Pt. came out of the cell in cuffs. Pt. became combative with PD and (was) put on our stretcher ... pt. was struck in the face by an officer ... pt. spit in the face of an officer, whereupon the officer punched the pt. in the face multiple times ...

Three cops began to punch the patient in the face, EMS (had) to get in the middle of it to intervene. Pt's. wounds and injuries cleaned in the (ambulance).

A second EMT confirmed the report, also noting that the patient had been brought out by ESU in "handcuffs and foot shackles."

The matter is being investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau, who can hopefully get to the bottom of this and figure out what happened. It has to be incredibly frustrating to deal with mentally disturbed people who spit on you, but that's part of being a cop.

If the report is true, those cops had no right to physically attack the patient like that, no matter how upset they were by his actions. There's reasonable force when keeping a violent person restrained, and then there's flat-out violence.

And unnecessary violence by police officers, provoked or not, is just plain wrong.

Do you think this kind of physical violence from law enforcement is ever acceptable?


Image via Giacomo Barbaro/Flickr

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