Police Taser Epileptic Having Seizure

I do not have epilepsy myself, but I know someone who does so I have educated myself about the condition. One of the things I have found out is that people with epilepsy have a tough way to go. Leaving aside the debilitating effects of epilepsy – especially for those with seizures that are hard to control – there is also a cultural stigmata associated with the condition. There is also a lot of ignorance about the condition. This appalling story on ABC News is a case in point. Here are the relevant parts of the article:

On most days Daniel lives the normal life of a 48-year-old single man. But roughly once a week, he loses total control of his body and mind to an epileptic seizure.
A seizure took over Beloungea’s body while walking through his suburban Detroit neighborhood last April. When an onlooker in a neighbor’s house saw Beloungea having the seizure, which includes rapid repetitive arm motion, she misinterpreted it as criminal conduct. Specifically, she thought Beloungea was masturbating in public.
With that misconception in mind, she called the Oakland Police Department. When police arrived on the scene, Beloungea was still undergoing his seizure, acting disoriented and not responding to questions.
When officers couldn’t get through to Beloungea they drew their weapons, shocked him with a high-voltage taser, hit him with a baton and wrestled him to the ground. They then handcuffed him and put him in a police car.

*snip*

The officers put Beloungea in jail, citing assault of a police officer and resisting arrest. Throughout the incident Beloungea, was wearing a medical alert bracelet identifying him as an epileptic, stating his name and the contact numbers of people who can be reached in case of an emergency.

*snip*

Later, Michigan state psychologists who examined Beloungea would confirm that he was having a seizure at the time of his arrest and that he was no danger to himself or to others.

You would think that at that point the police would have dropped the charges, apologized profusely and let Mr. Beloungea go. Such was not the case:

Beloungea was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity. Beloungea is not insane — he’s simply epileptic. But his lawyer, Otis Underwood, told ABC News there was no other way to get Beloungea off the charges than the insanity defense. The catch: He had to spend 20 days locked in a criminal mental facility.

Which is simply fucking barbaric. The man has a medical condition, which is not against the law. He was tasered and forced to spend time in a criminal mental facility and now has a criminal conviction with the word “insanity” attached. The fact that he has epilepsy won’t appear on any background check he may have to undergo in the future – say when the cops check his I.D. the next time he has a seizure and some fool calls the cops.
People, it is hard enough for people with epilepsy without having this kind of psychotic over-reaction on the paart of the public, the police and whatever asshole prosecuting attorney handled this case. How would the fucktards feel if someone showed up and tasered them the next time they had a medical emergency (yes, this story really pisses me off)?
At any rate to learn more about epilepsy you can go to:
Epilepsy Foundation
NINDS Epilepsy Information Page
Epilepsy
Added Later: There is more here:

The case in Michigan involved Daniel Beloungea, who was taking a daily walk in his neighborhood when he experienced a complex partial seizure, which left him in a state of semi-consciousness. Complex partial seizures are associated with repetitive involuntary movements, sometimes for up to 30 minutes, with post-seizure disorientation. Beloungea needs to walk daily as a form of rehabilitation to help restore functioning in his legs; this functioning was impaired following brain surgery to treat his seizures. A person passing by noticed Mr. Beloungea acting erratically and called police to report his behavior. When officers arrived on the scene, they apparently assumed that his failure to respond to their questions and his erratic involuntary movements amounted to resistance, and failed to recognize the obvious signs of a seizure. Furthermore, they failed to inspect the medical alert bracelet he was wearing, which indicates clearly that he has epilepsy.
According to police reports, when Mr. Beloungea was unresponsive to police direction, the bag he was carrying was kicked by police from his hand, and when he flailed his arms involuntarily, he was tasered, sending 50,000 volts of electricity through his body (risking serious injury or death); hit with a police baton; threatened at gunpoint; and handcuffed behind his back. (The handcuffing itself is dangerous for persons experiencing a seizure, as it can lead to further seizure-related agitation and struggling, possibly causing asphyxiation or even cardiac arrest.) He was then prosecuted for assaulting police officers and disorderly conduct, notwithstanding considerable evidence, including the state’s own mental health evaluation, confirming that his actions were involuntary and solely the product of a seizure.

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10 Responses

  1. It kind of blows my mind that they claim never to have heard of epilepsy. I’ve known several people who have it. Is knowledge of it really that uncommon?
    It’s revolting to me that they tasered him because he was unresponsive. Basic first aid/CPR training tells you that if someone is unresponsive, even if they’re conscious, they’re probably having some sort of medical issue and need medical attention immediately.

  2. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about epilepsy out there. You would think that the police – being first responders – would have had some basic first aid training. Leaving that aside, once the medical experts stated that Mr. Beloungea was having a seizure you would have thought the case would have been dropped by the police or the PA. Also, unfortunately, tasering first and asking questions later seems to be becoming standard operating procedure for the police…I think all that SWAT equipment they bought with DHS money is going to their heads…

  3. This is not even tunnel vision, but tunnel blindness on part of the authorities. And it stretches the entire chain. Now THAT is what I call criminal lunacy!

  4. You know, somebody really ought to make a TV Series called “America’s Dumbest Cops”.

  5. A show called “America’s Dumbest Cops” would just embolden the assholes in blue to assault more innocent people because they’re ‘bein picked on’.

  6. I noticed nobody raised the “race issue” here. I have a creeping feeling that Mr. Beloungea’s real “crime” was that he was walking around being “epileptic while black”. Ugh.
    Anne G

  7. A cop tasered, multiple times, a lady here in Seattle maybe 8 months ago who was in a diabetic coma. She was maybe 100 lbs. soaking wet, definately not a threat to anyone, much less the rather large cop. The whole incident was in the news, very sad. I’ve been reading about other unwarrented taserings, like the recent collage student, that indicates (to me) that tasers are definately being misused.

  8. Florida’s Baker act gives police the right to atack with taser or other firearm handcuff beat torture and incarcerate person for life with no criminal charges no weapon no strange or dangerous activity no threats to anyone or self if police report that violence or crime may occur anytime in the future. Becuase this has been ruled as a civil arrest there is no judge, jury, lawyer, allowed to work to free person. Florida gives all law enforcement immunity and the federal courts give all florida governments immunity and individual officers are automatically given immunity if they say that they reasonably could believe that future violence or crime may occur with no evidence or investigation required. Over 116,000 people are attacked every year and dozens are killed by police with no redress of any type allowed. This was done to me by wife of 49 years during divorce when her lawyer told her to get a therapist to report me as insane maniac wihen I never had any illness no meds no violence no criminal history no substance abuse. I was sitting in plain small chair unarmed hands in plain view when police arrived and ordered me to roll out of chair face down on floor to be handcuffed. I assured calmly them there was no danger or threats to anyone or self showing hands in plain view and asked for respect of basic constitutional and inalenable human rights. I was taserd nearly dead with heart rhythm going off then handcufed behind back dragged in to hot cruiser in sumer sun for two hours denied water toilet use heat and pain relief. I saved myself by squeezing abdominal muscles hard to force blood to brain to stop world from spinning and then coughing hard with deep breaths to get heart working right. I was tied to floor of tiny dark locked windowless room for may hours again denied water and toilet use. No food no place to slep for next 48 hours. Wife got $1,200,000 in investments, $450,000 house car and sailboat leaving me homeless and penniless.

  9. The above posts seem to be oriented towards what the police are doing to epileptics such as myself. These are all good points of issue, but please do not overlook the position that the DFS (Department of Family Services), seem to be taking against families with children in the home. I know of several personally that end up with this entity getting involved and even threatening to take away children on the basis of an epileptic parent. They will claim that the home is a dangerous place and not fit for the child.
    I think that this type of power is definitely abused and dangerous, due to complete ignorance.

  10. Wikipedia says The United Nations classify tasers as a form of torture. Sadly, several people have died unnecessarily as a result of being tasered.
    The police are supposed to be there to protect us, right? When the police turn against us, and are allowed to attack and kill citizens without punishment, who will be there to protect us from the police?

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