SAN DIEGO (CN) – A Native American says Border Patrol agents in Arizona forced him out of his car at gunpoint and beat him while he pleaded for medical attention for his mother, whom he believed had suffered a heart attack. The attack came, ironically, after a checkpoint at an Indian village, according to the federal complaint.
In his pro se federal complaint, Michael Mattia of San Diego says he was driving on Arizona Highway 85 when his mother “began having serious chest pains and difficulty breathing.”
Mattia says headed for a hospital but was stopped at a checkpoint by Homeland Security agents near the village of Chuichi on Oct. 8, 2008.
Mattia says he told an agent that his mother needed immediate medical attention, “but the guard refused to believe him.”
“Plaintiff’s mother did not appear to be breathing and Border Patrol agents refused to act reasonably in the face of this life-threatening emergency,” Mattia says.
“Finally plaintiff told them to follow him to the hospital and left; no border agents followed him,” according to the complaint.
Mattia says he called 911 for an ambulance, but soon was blocked by agents who had laid down a spike strip and drawn their guns.
Mattia says he put his hands up and got out of his car, but the agents beat him, “kicking him in the ribs and punching him, while an agent knelt on his back.”
He says the agents dragged him across the ground, injuring his left shoulder, then slammed against a patrol car.
All the while, Mattia says, he pleaded for the agents to get his mother medical attention, which she received “far, far later.”
Mattia says he was detained without being charged, and eventually was released, but “his car was torn apart and damaged” by the agents. His mother survived.
Mattia seeks damages for battery, emotional distress, false imprisonment and destruction of personal property. He says he filed a claim for damages, and it was denied.