Amputee Says Cops Abused & Mocked Him
LINCOLN, Neb. (CN) - Police forced an innocent, double-leg amputee to get out of his car at gunpoint, with hands up, then beat and ridiculed him as "a cripple crawling around," the African-American man claims in court.
Leroy Duffie claims Lincoln city police handcuffed and beat him and left him lying on the street for half an hour before they finally "removed the handcuffs and allowed the plaintiff to crawl under the van to retrieve his prosthetic legs."
Duffie sued the City of Lincoln in Lancaster County Court.
Duffie describes himself in the lawsuit as "an African American ... with a diagnosis of depression and post traumatic stress disorder and ... a double amputee with prosthetics." He says Lincoln police pulled him over for no discernible reason on Sept. 3, 2011.
The complaint states: "When plaintiff was stopped, he was confronted by LPD officers with their service revolvers drawn and pointed at him and he was immediately ordered to raise his hands and get out of the van. Plaintiff politely responded that he couldn't raise his hands and get out of the van at the same time due to his being a double amputee and needed his hands to help lift his improperly fitted prosthetic legs that were only duct taped to the upper remaining portions of his legs.
"The LPD officers were yelling at him and threatening him with their pointed service revolvers, even though plaintiff was unharmed and had not engaged in any suspicious behavior or actions nor posed any imminent threat to the LPD officers."
In trying to comply with the officers' demands, Duffie says, he tried to get out of the van, but his "prosthetic leg fell off, causing him to tumble to the pavement, violently striking his head and shoulder against the street and tearing the rotator cuff of his left shoulder as a result of the fall from the van."
He continues: "That while lying in the middle of the street on his stomach he was handcuffed and the LPD officers forcibly jammed their knees into his back and proceeded to terrorize and ridicule him as he cried out in excruciating pain."
Duffie claims that officers searched his van without a warrant while "other LPD officers continued to ridicule the plaintiff about being 'a cripple crawling around' while he remained lying on the street with his prosthetic legs strewn under the van and crying out in pain from his seriously injured shoulder."
"Finally, after thirty (30) minutes of crying in pain on the street and finding nothing in his van, LPD officers removed the handcuffs and allowed the plaintiff to crawl under the van to retrieve his prosthetic legs."
Duffie says he needed emergency surgery on his shoulder for a torn rotator cuff.
He seeks medical expenses and damages for civil rights violations, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, negligence, failure to train, and constitutional violations.
He is represented by Bruce Mason, with Disability Rights Nebraska, in Lincoln.