A teen in Hunstville, Alabama, who died last year while being arrested in a drug sting, has been found to have “suffered broken ribs, had a flashlight shoved in his mouth and suffered cardiac arrest while officers sat on him,” according to AL.com.
Reportedly, the 17-year-old had choked and was vomiting while being handcuffed by police and subsequently lost consciousness. Authorities said that they were under the impression that the teen had overdosed, but a lawsuit brought on by Nancy Smith, the mother of the young man, claims that “no signs of an overdose had been found.”
Police arrested the teen after they sent an informant to buy drugs from him. Upon arrival to the scene, officers “held the teen down and inserted two pens and the butt of a flashlight into his mouth searching for contraband,” AL.com reports. Once paramedics arrived, the teen, who was 6 feet tall and weighed 130 pounds, had turned blue and was barely able to breathe. Five days later, on June 18th, 2013, the young man died at a local hospital.
According to AL.com, no drugs were found at any point.
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Smith filed a wrongful death suit in March of this year, but the suit was initially dismissed last month on “technical grounds.” City Attorney Peter Joffrion responded to the initial complaint, saying that while the death was unfortunate, he believed that responding officers "handled this matter appropriately."
After being ordered to amend the complaint, a new suit was filed on Tuesday. The complaint now states that a “failure to train officers has created a ‘reputation for excessive force’ and a tolerance of improper behavior by officers.” The suit also blames the arresting officers for the teen’s death by use of excessive force.
Several defendants were named in the suit, including Hunstville Police Chief Lewis Morris.
Source: AL.com / Photo Credit: libertycrier.com