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Police Allegedly Abuse Tourettes Sufferer

If the allegations in this lawsuit are true, it’s one of the more outrageous cases of police brutality you’ll ever see. A man with Tourette’s Syndrome alleges that the police disabled the electronic device that keeps his ailment under control, then beat him for the inevitable outbursts.

Sheriff’s deputies deactivated a device that controls a man’s Tourette’s syndrome and beat him as “a form of amusement” when he could no longer control his physical and verbal actions, the man claims in court.

Charles Ray sued Chatham County Sheriff Al St. Lawrence and jail official Floyd Jackson, in Chatham County State Court.

Ray was arrested in July 2010 on drug possession charges and taken to the Chatham County jail.

At the jail, he says, deputies made him pass through a metal detector that shut down his deep brain stimulator, a battery-operated device that controls his Tourette’s symptoms.

“Upon being transported to his cell, plaintiff advised the sheriff’s deputies which were escorting him that he should not go through the scanning device as it would affect the batteries in his Tourette’s device and render it useless,” the complaint states. “The deputies did not heed plaintiff’s warning and forced him to go through the scanning device, which in fact did turn off his Tourette’s device and cause the symptoms of Tourette’s to evidence themselves, including jerking of his arms and legs, facial tics, and other neurological actions which evidenced a lack of control on plaintiff’s part.”

Ray says he warned the deputies that he could not control himself without the device and his medication, but they ignored him. He says the deputies denied him medication and made no effort to reactivate his device.

“After the metal detector turned the battery off that charged the electrodes for the brain mapping, the plaintiff could not control his physical and verbal actions and the deputies ignored his protestations, and when he failed to control himself, he was beaten,” the complaint states. “He was tied to a chair and made to stay there for hours without benefit of food, water or bathroom privileges. While abusing the plaintiff by beating him and kicking him, the deputies considered it a form of amusement and laughed at his protestations.

“The defendant’s deputies, including Officer Floyd Jackson, head of the mental ward, sought to cover up their action by writing false reports that laid the blame on plaintiff, contending that he beat himself against the wall, thereby causing his many injuries.”

If this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need to be fired.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    If this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need to be fired.

    More to the point, if this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need a stretch in the slammer.

  2. says

    Well, now you know where all the kids who pulled the wings off flies went to.

    slc1 “More to the point, if this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need a stretch in the slammer.”
    And a slam in the stretcher.

  3. Abby Normal says

    Absolutely appalling. Though, as much as I hate to admit it, my outrage is somewhat tempered by the discovery that deep brain stimulation is being used to treat Tourette’s. The tech geek in me is going, that’s so cool, which is making it hard to stay connected with my outrage.

    While abusing the plaintiff by beating him and kicking him, the deputies considered it a form of amusement and laughed at his protestations.

    Right, there it is.

  4. Stevarious says

    If this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need to be fired.

    And something in me suspects that if that sort of behavior was already going on, the likelihood of these cops getting any worse than ‘administrative leave with pay’ is close to zero.

  5. says

    I know that I’m not supposed to be more mad at this than other similar cases, but having TS myself I wish could have alone time with these officers.

  6. eric says

    Abbie – the techie in me is saying “how does it work?” I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical that its better than a placebo.

    I’m guessing the reporter garbled some of the details, too.

  7. Infophile says

    @7 & 8: It doesn’t appear that the linked study used a control group, so a placebo response is quite possible. Of course, none of this justifies anything the police did (I shouldn’t need to say that, but this is the internet, so better safe than sorry.).

  8. Austin Travis says

    If this turns out to be true, there are a lot of deputies who need to be fired.

    Here’s what I don’t understand — when did torture, assault, and battery become something we fired people over instead of putting them in jail?

  9. says

    @ Infophile 9

    Sorry I should have been more clear. I was not intending to defend the technology (my own symptoms don’t need such), I was only introducing it because of the technical request.

    If you hit the related citations section you should find more info if you are curious. It’s proven in Parkinson’s. I would not want such myself, but then I can’t say I know how bad it can get for others with TS.

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