Lack of Meds Blamed for Courtroom Outburst


     (CN) – Police kicked a mentally disabled man while laughing and high-fiving after a psychotic outburst caused by a forced stimulant and lack of medication, the man’s mother claims in court.
     Valentina O’Connor says she gave police ADHD and bipolar medication for Michael O’Connor when he turned himself in after being “informed that he was going to be arrested” in May 2014, according to her lawsuit. She claims her son did not receive his medication during his first three days in police custody.
     Chicago police then took O’Connor to a hospital for medication, where he was allegedly forced to take a stimulant.
     “At Little Company of Mary Hospital, Michael was told to take Vyvanse, a stimulant. Michael told the officers that he had not slept in days and thus should not be taking a stimulant, especially on an empty stomach,” the complaint states. “The officers threatened Michael with staying in the police station for three more days if he did not take the Vyvanse.”
     He took the stimulant and was taken back to the Chicago Police Department, where he continued to have trouble sleeping, the lawsuit states. The complaint says that O’Connor had an outburst at a bond hearing the next day because of the stimulant and lack of his normal bipolar and ADHD medication.
     “The outburst occurred because Michael had not received the proper medication and instead received a stimulant at an inappropriate time, after being unmedicated for days,” the complaint states. “In response to his outcry, [deputies] Wright, Merriweather, and Herrera punched Michael in the face, tackled him, pushed him to the ground, and handcuffed him behind his back.”
     The courtroom was then evacuated before O’Connor was taken to a back room, where officers continued to assault him, according to the complaint.
     “Wright, Merriweather, and Herrera were laughing and high fiving as they kicked Michael,” the lawsuit states. “Michael thought Wright, Merriweather, and Herrera were going to kill him.”
     He was taken to a hospital where he went in and out of consciousness for three days, the lawsuit claims. He was reportedly transferred to another hospital, where he was treated for a week, before being sent to a Cook County jail.
     “As a result of this beating, Michael suffered and continues to suffer from aggravation of his mental illness, PTSD, a concussion, a cracked rib, displaced vertebra, black eyes, severe bruising, a fractured nose, chipped tooth, severe headaches, amnesia, twitching, and a misaligned jaw, which causes him difficulty chewing,” the complaint states.
     O’Connor sued Cook County, Ill., the City of Chicago, three Cook County’s sheriff’s deputies, and a number of Chicago police officers in Northern Illinois district court, as guardian of her son. She claims excessive force, deliberate indifference and indemnification.
     O’Connor seeks compensatory and punitive damages, in addition to attorney fees and legal costs. She is represented by Victor Henderson of Henderson Adam LLC in Chicago.
     The Chicago Police Department said it cannot comment on pending litigation. The Cook County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment emailed Tuesday.

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