79-Year Old Woman Assaulted by Cops, Lawsuit Alleges

old-woman.JPG
Public Enemy, NWA, Tupac... 79-year-old Velma Fortune, shining a light on police brutality.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. to include a statement from McPherson Police Chief Dennis Shaw.

Two McPherson, Kansas, police officers snatched the cane of a 79-year-old woman, handcuffed her and dragged her across a parking lot, causing her to have a heart attack, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the district of Kansas.

"If somebody had simply called me and explained me this story," says the woman's lawyer, Matthew Bretz, "I probably wouldn't have believed it.

But he does believe it. Because the entire incident, he says, was caught on video.

The suit accuses officers Richard Rogers and John Farley, of the McPherson Police Department, of violating senior citizen Velma Fortune's civil rights by arresting her without probable cause and then "prying Plaintiff's cane away from her, handcuffing her hands behind her back, dragging her across a parking lot, and dumping her on the pavement," at a Shell gas station on April 13, 2010.

While on the pavement, Fortune had a heart attack and was then rushed to the McPherson Hospital.

"You can hear the breathing problems she was having on the video," says Bretz.

In their official police report, Rogers and Farley claim they did everything by the books. But the eye in the sky doesn't lie. When the officers got out of their cars, the camera behind the windshield of each of their police cruisers (the cameras commonly used on shows with names like World's Wildest Police Chases) automatically turned on, says Bretz.

Why did the police approach Fortune in the first place? Bretz says he can't comment on that because of client confidentiality. (For the record, Fortune has not been charged with any crime.)

In a statement to Daily RFT, McPherson Police Chief Dennis Shaw defends his officers:


On Tuesday 4/13/10, officers responded to a disturbance at a local service station, involving a 79-year-old female, who was very agitated and refused to leave the premises. The officers were unsuccessful in getting the woman to cooperate. She was eventually taken into custody. Pursuant to policy, the person was handcuffed and the cane was removed from the person. She refused to walk with assistance from the officers and she was carried under her arms a short distance in an effort to put her into the patrol car.

Officers Rogers and Farley remain on active duty because "in our opinion they haven't done anything wrong," Shaw adds.

We'll keep you posted as this story develops.


h/t to courthousenews.com


My Voice Nation Help
5 comments
ThreesoldiersMOM
ThreesoldiersMOM

There is a whole lot more to this case than is shared here. I relaize that this is an older person but that doesn't excuse her behavior either, and the article is right about one thing; the video will show the real truth behind the arrest and how this person was treated. I do find it interesting that she had to go all the way to St Louis to find a lawyer that would take the case.

Ferguson Bill52
Ferguson Bill52

Similar case, Gatineau police Pierre francoi Blais assaults 73 year old woman then kills her son.

A Gatineau cop violated a man's Charter rights when he shot and killed him in 2008, according to a litany of charges filed under Quebec's Police Act.On June 29, 2011 -- one day past the three-year anniversary of David Leclair's death and just five days after the Leclair family launched a $430,000 civil suit against the officer and the city -- the province's police ethics commissioner slapped mall cop Pierre-Francois Blais with 10 charges.Though he remains on active duty, he was unreachable for comment Wednesday."It'll never bring David back, it never should have happened to begin with," Leclair's sister, Donna told the Sun Wednesday. She is still pressing for a public inquiry into her brother's death.A 35-year-old single father who was well-known to police, Leclair was shot three times outside his mother's Aylmer, Que. home after Blais responded to a domestic complaint involving Leclair's ex.In February 2007, Leclair pleaded guilty and was handed an 11-month sentence for fraud.Separate fraud and assault charges from 2006 were stayed, and he was also due to appear in court later in 2008 on theft and fraud charges.On the day of Leclair's death, Blais had followed him into his mother's home, beat him with a club and pepper-sprayed him before shooting him three times outside, including once in the back. Blais said LeClair grabbed a crowbar in the confrontation but witnesses say he was unarmed.The officer also struck Leclair's then 73-year-old mother, Dorothy, in the leg with his baton and, according to witnesses, threatened to shoot her and LeClair's brother Robert if they intervened."Personally, I would love him to have jail time, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen at this point," Donna said.Blais, the son of chief justice of the Federal Court of Appeal Pierre Blais, was cleared in 2009 of any criminal wrongdoing after a provincial police investigation. The latest charges, which stem from a formal complaint filed to the police ethics commissioner, allege Blais acted carelessly and recklessly in his dealings with Leclair, used obscene or offensive language, displayed a lack of respect or courtesy, abused his authority, and violated Leclair's Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.Blais is also charged with using excessive force against Leclair's mother, along with four other charges."Will this bring us closure? I don't know, but I hope it helps ... Something is better than nothing right now," Donna said. "We'll see how it plays out."No hearing date has been set yet.The charges against Pierre-Francois Blais:1.      Acted carelessly and recklessly in his dealings with Leclair 2.      Using obscene or offensive language 3.      Displaying a lack of respect or courtesy 4.      Abusing his authority 5.      Violated Leclair's Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person 6.      Using obscene or offensive language in his dealings with Dorothy Leclair 7.      Displaying a lack of respect or courtesy 8.      Excessive force 9.      Making threats 10.   Failing to prevent or contribute to preventing justice from taking its course Key dates in the aftermath of David Leclair's death:·       June 28, 2008 - David Leclair, 35, is shot three times outside his mother's Aylmer, Que. home by Gatineau Const. Pierre-Francois Blais. Leclair dies in hospital. ·       June 29, 2008 - Investigation turned over to the Quebec provincial police. ·       June 30, 2008 - Questions arise why the officer wasn't equipped with a stun gun. ·       September 2008 - Quebec provincial police finish their investigation and pass the file to the Crown. ·       February 2009 - Quebec Crown attorney decides against pursuing charges against Blais, saying the officer used "reasonable force" considering the circumstances. ·       April 2009 - Leclair family files a request for a public inquiry into David's death with Quebec's public security ministry. ·       June 23, 2011 - Leclair family launches a $430,000 civil suit against Pierre-Francois Blais and the city of Gatineau ·       June 29, 2011 - Quebec's police ethics commissioner lays 10 charges against Const. Pierre-Francois Blais. What happened on June 28, 2008 (from the coroner's report):·       On June 25, 2008, at 4:20 a.m. David Leclair goes to female friend's house, intoxicated, physically and verbally violent, makes death threats. ·       She doesn't call cops right away but does three days later (10:25 a.m. June 28.) after he harasses her by phone. ·       Leclair is well known by police. ·       The officer calls Leclair's mother's house to say he will arrest Leclair, leaving a message, then goes to house after calling for backup. ·       Officer arrives, finds Leclair outside with a friend and informs him he's under arrest. ·       Leclair doesn't obey and goes back into the house, threatening the officer. ·       The officer asks Leclair in English and French to lie on the floor but Leclair becomes increasingly threatening, holding an object. ·       The officer hits Leclair on the arm with his baton, to no effect, then uses pepper spray. ·       Now outside, Leclair takes a metal bar and threatens the officer, who warns he'll shoot. ·       Leclair becomes more aggressive and moves toward the cop. ·       The officer fears for his life and shoots three times. ·       An ambulance is called at 11:34 a.m. ·       Leclair arrives at the hospital at 12 p.m. ·       Leclair dies at 6:55 p.m.  

martiardell
martiardell

@Ferguson Bill52 In the case of Pierre francois Blais of Gatineau police, according to witnesses, he assaulted a 73 year old woman and then shot her son David Leclair in the back according to a coroners report. Pictures taken at the scene show Blais wearing military combat  pants, so it is quite possible that David leclair may have concluded that Blais was an intruder and Leclair simply wanted to defend and protect his family against what he perceived to be a crazed mad intruder not a cop.

Handsome Jimmy
Handsome Jimmy

And these are the assholes that we are paying to serve and protect us. Nice job fellas.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...