A 17-year-old boy is dead and his mother is suing the Huntsville, Alabama, Police Department, accusing them of excessive force and sticking a sharp object down his throat in search of a bag of drugs; drugs which the autopsy report says were never found. She alleges that their excessive actions are what killed her teenage son.
It happened last year during a sting operation set up by police in which an 18-year-old informant went to the unnamed teen’s home to purchase drugs, according to CBS, with plainclothes officers hiding nearby. When the female officer ran toward the boy, without identifying herself, he ran, not knowing she was a police officer. Another officer gave chase and slammed him to the ground, handcuffed him, and pepper-sprayed him. At no time did the teen present a threat to police.
According to the lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother Nancy Smith:
“Minor N.S. was lying on the ground, unable to move as a result of the police officer confining him beneath the weight of his body and the effects of being pepper-sprayed in the face. While handcuffed, defendant officer was forcefully and unlawfully shoving his knees into Minor N.S.’s back, further hindering [his] ability to breathe. Minor N.S. was unable to move any part of his body. Although Minor N.S. continued to choke and lose consciousness, defendant officers refused to remove his handcuffs or allow him to sit upright to attempt to breathe.”
Paramedics were called to the scene. When they arrived, the young man was still in handcuffs, and “lying motionless on the ground.” They worked for about 20 minutes to revive him before transporting him to the hospital, where they told the doctor that he had “appeared lifeless and had no pulse.” A pulse was regained, but he never regained consciousness. After five days in the hospital, Nancy’s teenage son was gone.
Police told her that he had choked on a bag of drugs that he had swallowed in an attempt to hide evidence, which the officers had tried to retrieve unsuccessfully.
After months of stonewalling and hindrances, Ms. Smith was finally able to obtain the autopsy report. There was no bag of drugs anywhere in her son’s body, or anything else unusual in his body for that matter. However, there was evidence of an unidentified sharp, oblong object being shoved down the teen’s throat in an effort to retrieve the nonexistent bag of drugs, according to the Daily Caller.
There is no way of knowing whether the teen had drugs in his system because blood samples were thrown away before the autopsy was performed.
But the autopsy did reveal that excessive force was used. Two ribs of the 6 feet tall, 130 lb. teen were shattered, reportedly by the officer’s forceful shoving of his knees into his back, and there were multiple contusions. The findings of the report include “blunt force injuries and anoxic/hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which is when the brain does not receive enough oxygen,” according to WAFF.
It is unclear what the actual cause of death was from the autopsy report, but his mother has filed suit against the Huntsville Police Department for excessive use of force, assault and battery, unlawful search and seizure, and wrongful death, among other charges. Ms. Smith believes that the police officers’ actions directly killed her teenage son.
[image via bing]