CHICAGO (CN) – A woman claims in court that Chicago police Tasered her sick husband simply because he said he did not need their help, causing him to fall and injure his brain so badly he has been in a coma for more than a year.
Sandra Cardiel sued Chicago and unknown police officers on behalf of her husband, Jose Lopez, in Federal Court.
Cardiel says her husband was walking down a sidewalk on the South Side at around 3 a.m. on July 22, 2011 when he began feeling chest pains and his friend called 911 to ask for an ambulance.
“Unknown Chicago police officers, whose identities are unknown but will be ascertained during the course of discovery in this cause, also went in response to the emergency dispatch,” Cardiel says.
“At least three or four squad cars of the Chicago Police Department arrived on the scene before or simultaneous with the arrival of the Chicago Fire Department ambulance. …
“When the unknown Chicago police officers ordered plaintiff to stop and come to them, plaintiff told them he did not want their help and said he was just fine.
“As the unknown Chicago police officers continued to order plaintiff to come to them, plaintiff was unarmed and non-combative, but told the police that he did not want their assistance.
“Plaintiff disregarded their order, turned, continued to retreat in a direction away from them, and started walking toward his car. …
“As is their want, custom, and practice to so do, when a citizen of the community refuses an order to stop and continues to walk away, unknown Chicago police officers draw and use their Taser guns to force compliance.”
Cardiel says there were “more than an ample number” of police officers and firefighters there to seize and restrain her husband, if need be, without Tasering him. In fact, she says, he was “surrounded” by cops and firemen.
But “Because (Lopez) had not heeded their order to stop and come to them, the unknown Chicago police officers drew their Taser guns, and without any right or reason to so do, immediately Tased plaintiff, sending an electric shock through plaintiff’s body strong enough to cause him to crash violently to the ground, crack open his head, and cry out with horrible sounds of pain.
“The unknown Chicago police officers immediately rushed plaintiff, violently turned him facedown on the sidewalk, and, without any right to so do, handcuffed him behind his back,” the complaint states.
Whereupon, Cardiel says, “the unknown Chicago police officers denied that they had done anything wrong to anyone who would listen, including the ambulance paramedics and the bystanders who gathered at the scene.”
Cardiel says: “Since moments after the Tasing of plaintiff by the unknown Chicago police officers, plaintiff was rendered unconscious and has been and remains in a coma.
“Upon arrival at Mount Sinai Hospital Emergency Room, plaintiff was found to have suffered a traumatic brain injury with subdural hematoma as well as a left temporal lobe contusion.
“After being evaluated by neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, plaintiff underwent a subdural hematoma evacuation and craniotomy and right temporal lobectomy.”
Cardiel says her husband remains in a coma at Kindred Hospital Chicago North Intensive Care Unit, on ventilator support and now suffers from a seizure disorder.
Cardiel claims, “the City of Chicago has failed to discipline its officers in any way for the use of excessive force on citizens of the community and, in particular, the inappropriate use of the Taser gun against plaintiff.”
She seeks at least $4 million in punitive and compensatory damages for false seizure, excessive force, assault and battery, and emotional distress.
The couple are represented by John DeRose, of Hinsdale.