A 34-year-old man in Sacramento, California, is fighting for his life in a hospital after police officers tased him and nearly beat him to death.
John Hernandez suffered severe brain damage after his confrontation with the police on March 6 — so much so that he does not recognize his mother, ex-wife or daughter, is unable to talk or walk. According to his mother, Debbie, his injuries may result in him having a mental capacity of a toddler.
This is what happened.
On the afternoon of the day, the Sacramento police received calls about a “shirtless man” running on the streets and telling people to fight with him. The first respondent saw Hernandez sitting on the curb but when the officer tried to speak with him, Hernandez became “agitated and confrontational.” Police also said Hernandez refused to obey their orders and became even more erratic.
Officers then attempted to subdue him with Tasers and batons, but according to them, the weapons were not effective. However, they eventually did manage to restrain Hernandez.
Things took a turn for the worse when police were taking Hernandez from the scene. He became unresponsive and officers had to start CPR on him.
Police have yet to release the incident of the footage, but, according to the Sacramento Bee, an officer told a dispatcher that he suffered from “excited delirium” — a condition that is hugely controversial.
The state is marked by paranoia, extreme physical strength and paranoia, according to the police, but many civil rights advocates say it rarely occurs outside of police custody, so it may just be an excuse concocted by police to justify their use of excessive force.
In the case of Hernandez, police tased him and beat him with batons, which was a clear use of excessive force as the suspect was unarmed and law enforcement officers are trained to deal with suspects who are agitated or suffering from a mental disturbance.
However, because of the actions of the officer, Hernandez, more than three weeks from the incident, is still in intensive care unit with brain damage. His condition deteriorated earlier this week and his stopped breathing of his own accord.
Hernandez’s mother has said the excessive use of force has left her son in this state and doctors think he may never fully recover. She also said her son’s heart stopped for 10 minutes after the incident and the doctor’s best bet is that he may regain the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.
“They don’t know if he will ever be able to walk or talk,” said Debbie. “He doesn’t know we are there at all. That’s what makes me so sad.”
Hernandez is not yet under arrest but he can be charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer. Yet, how exactly will he be punished for the charges if his mental capacity remains that of a baby, is a mystery.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Andrew Innerarity