Police brutality incidents continue to happen every day. Unfortunately, not even the elderly are exempt.
Albert Chatfield, an 86-year-old man from South Carolina, is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit after Kingstree Police Officer Stephen Sweikata deployed a Taser gun against the elderly man.
Chatfield’s family attorney, Justin Bamberg, expressed disbelief in how this entire incident was handled, asserting that “[i]f you cannot restrain an 86-year-old, you need to eat some spinach.”
“It’s unconstitutional to [Taser] someone just because they’re not listening. Plus, he’s 86,” Bamberg added.
The victim, who suffers from dementia, had been pulled over by Sweikata after the elderly man allegedly ran a red light. Instead of remaining in his car, Chatfield stepped out. As the disoriented man walked in and out of traffic lanes, officers said, they feared for his safety. However, instead of bringing him back to his car calmly, they used a Taser gun to subdue him.
“...I was afraid that Mr. Chatfield would be struck by a vehicle had this continued,” Sweikata said.
But the so-called concern led Sweikata to commit a hazardous act, as Chatfield was seriously injured after being struck with the Taser.
Chatfield suffered internal bleeding from his brain. He also suffered a broken nose after falling due to the shock.
After being taken to the hospital, he had to be put in an induced coma. When he woke up, he had difficulty speaking.
Chatfield's family is now criticizing the officers involved in this incident, saying that the actions that led to Chatfield’s injuries were an abuse of power and unconstitutional. After all, they said, the man posed no threat to the police or the public.
The victim's daughter, Jodi Mack, said that while she always sympathized with the plight of countless other African-Americans — who are often injured and even killed in confrontations with officers — she “never in a million years” thought it would impact her.
It’s truly tragic that an elderly man like Chatfield, who didn’t pose a threat, was treated in such a rough and unjustifiable manner. What’s worse is that even with all the media attention this story is getting, it’s unlikely that the officers to blame will be properly reprimanded and sentenced as most cases of police brutality are treated with impunity.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton