CHICAGO (CN) - Police in a far west Chicago suburb assaulted an unconscious man, flipped his body in somersaults and hogtied him, and permanently disabled his mother as she tried to intervene, the family claims in court.
The Flerlage family sued the Village of Oswego and five of its police officers, the Kendall County Sheriff's Office and several other officials, in Federal Court.
Lead plaintiff Bonny Flerlage, the mother, sued on her own behalf and for her children, Tyler and Alexia Flerlage and Austin Decowski.
Austin Decowski, 23, is the old brother of 19-year-old Tyler Flerlage.
"On the evening of August 25, 2011, Austin Decowski and a friend, Blake Osborne, went for dinner and drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings for some wings and a couple of beers," the lawsuit states.
"The two were to call Bonny Flerlage when finished so that she could pick Austin Decowski and Blake Osborne up.
"At about 11:30 that evening, Austin Decowski called Bonny Flerlage to inform her that Austin Decowski and Blake Osborne were walking home but Bonnie Flerlage insisted on picking them up.
"As Austin Decowski and Blake Osborne proceeded down Douglas Rd., Bonny Flerlage, taking her son, Tyler Flerlage and daughter, Alexia Flerlage, with her, began to drive towards the location of Douglas Rd. and Bluegrass Pkwy.
"When Bonny Flerlage arrived she found Blake Osborne standing over Austin Decowski in a straddling position, attempting to lift him up.
"Because there was no shoulder in the road, Bonny Flerlage had her car stopped in a lane of traffic.
"Tyler Flerlage exited the vehicle to find out what was going on.
"Austin Decowski was yelling, 'Leave me alone! I am not going anywhere with you!'
"As Blake Osborne and Tyler Flerlage attempted to get Austin Decowski up and into the car, he became more agitated, yelling, 'I don't know you! I am not going anywhere with you!'
"When Austin Decowski was asked to please do it for his son Brycen, Austin Decowski responded, 'Fuck Brycen. Who the hell is Brycen?'
"Bonny Flerlage, who originally thought her son was intoxicated, realized there was something seriously wrong medically wrong with him.
"As she was a nurse, who knew her son was not a heavy drinker, she wondered whether he may have fallen victim to a date rape drug of some sort."
As his family tired to help Decowski, a passing car called 911 and reported that five people were attacking a boy on the ground.
Defendant Oswego police Officer R. Melhouse responded, joined moments later by defendant Officer Brian Nehring.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse runs up to the scene and screams, 'Get the fuck out of the way!'," the complaint states.
It continues: "Alexia Flerlage and Tyler Flerlage immediately jumped out of the way, assuming that defendant Officer Melhouse was there to help them.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse straddled Austin Decowski and smacked him in the head with defendant Officer Melhouse's flashlight, knocking him unconscious with the first blow.
"Bonny Flerlage, Alexia Flerlage were all screaming for defendant officer to stop.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse refused and continued to use his fists to beat Austin Decowski in the face with a closed fist, while Austin Decowski was clearly unconscious.
"Tyler Flerlage, fearing for Austin Decowski's life, screamed, 'That's enough' and pushed defendant Officer Melhouse off of Austin Decowski.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse then hit Tyler Flerlage in the face with his flashlight so hard that Tyler Flerlage's legs went flying sideways.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse then started striking Tyler Flerlage in the face. Tyler Flerlage kept throwing up his hands in a surrendering position but defendant Officer Melhouse continued to strike Tyler Flerlage in the head and face.
"Tyler Flerlage started to swing back but then stopped himself in time to not make contact with defendant Officer Melhouse.
"Defendant Officer Nehring then runs up to the scene, screaming, 'Stop resisting.'
"Defendant Officer Nehring then tackles Tyler Flerlage and starts, along with defendant Officer Melhouse, beating Tyler Flerlage's head into the concrete.
"Bonnie Flerlage and Alexia Flerlage were looking on screaming and crying, begging for the officers to stop.
"Austin Decowski still lay unconscious.
"Alexia Decowski, fearing that her brother Austin Decowski was dead, leaned over to make sure he was still breathing.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse jumps back and tosses Alexia Flerlage aside.
"Defendant Officer Melhouse starts flipping Austin Decowski into somersaults while he remained unconscious.
"As the remaining defendant officers arrived on the scene, Austin Decowski remained unconscious. Defendant Officer Melhouse then calls for paramedic help, stating, 'The subject is unresponsive.'
As Bonnie Flerlage, concerned for Austin's safety, tried to call her mother to ask her to contact a lawyer, but defendant Officer B.T. Dilg screamed at her to hang up the phone, according to the complaint.
"Bonny Flerlage went to reach for the phone to hang it up and defendant Officer Dilg reached for the phone at the same time. Bonny Flerlage, not able to see well with tears flowing down her face, accidentally touched defendant Officer Dilg's wrist in the process.
"Bonny Flerlage was quickly attacked by Officer Dilg, Sergeant [P.] Bond and a presently unknown [Village of] Montgomery police officer.
"The defendant officers grabbed Bonny Flerlage, who had a previous spine injury, by the back of the neck and face-planted her into the ground, hard enough to permanently disable her.
"Bonny Flerlage immediately lost her bladder control, wetting her shorts.
"Bonny Flerlage screamed out, 'Stop, stop, you are hurting me!'
"Alexia Flerlage yelled, 'Stop! My mom has a spinal injury.
"The defendant officer laughed at Bonny Flerlage for wetting her shorts.
"Officer Nehring was instructed by another defendant officer to put Bonny Flerlage in the car.
"Sergeant Bond handcuffed Bonny Flerlage.
"The defendant officers also handcuffed Alexia Flerlage.
"Meanwhile, Austin Decowski, who had been unconscious for at least ten minutes or more started, flopping around and yelling out.
"Bonny Flerlage believed her son was having a seizure.
"Austin Decowski was on his back and began to gurgle blood.
"Tyler Flerlage instructed his brother to spit out the blood, to which defendant Officer Bond shouted, 'Yeah, if he spits, we will charge him with felony battery.'
"Austin Decowski started to gargle and choke on his own blood.
"Tyler Flerlage could only look on, being handcuffed, terrified that his brother would die.
"Defendant Officer Bond then ordered another defendant officer on scene to get a spit guard, which was put on Austin Decowski's head.
"Austin Decowski again went unconscious and again started flopping about as if having a seizure.
"It was then that the defendant officers hogtied Austin Decowski."
Austin was indeed charged with felony battery to a police officer, felony battery to a paramedic, domestic battery - supposedly to Alexia Flerlage - and resisting arrest. Bonny and Tyler Flerlage were charged with battery and obstruction.
All plaintiffs claim they suffered significant physical injuries. The mother says she was permanently disabled by the injury to her back, and stuck with $70,000 in nursing bills. All have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the complaint states.
The family also claims that Austin's mug shot was doctored to remove evidence of the attack, and that much of the audio on the video from the police cruiser is missing.
They seek punitive damages for excessive force, false arrest, conspiracy, failure to intervene, false imprisonment, assault and battery, denial of medical attention, and emotional distress.
They are represented by Eydie Glassman, of Rosemont, Ill.
Oswego, pop. 30,000, is about 20 miles west of Chicago, south of Aurora.