This latest account of police brutality shows the blatant disregard that police have developed towards the safety and security of citizens. Tasers and guns have become the first response of officers to anything they consider a “threat,” such as not immediately doing everything they say. After all, nothing is more of a threat to a police officer than non-violent noncompliance… but hey, maybe this sick old lady really WAS a threat.
AlterNet reports that a civil lawsuit has been filed against the Lewisville Police Department of Texas and six of its officers on behalf of Dolores Seyfried. Dolores’ husband David Seyfried alleges in the suit that police officers repeatedly shot and Tasered the 67 year old Alzheimer’s patient as he begged them to “put the gun away.” After Dolores was taken away in an ambulance, the police then declared “exigent circumstance” to search the home over David’s objections, telling the man that they had “saved his ass” today… by violently attacking his confused wife, even as she tried to walk away from the officers.
So what led to this police brutality and gross violation of the human rights and physical security of Dolores and David Seyfried?
Dolores Seyfried has Alzheimer’s, and at one point became “agitated” at David and reportedly had a letter opener in her hand. David was sure that he would be able to calm Dolores, but called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association hotline for some help and support. Their reaction to the situation was to contact the Lewisville police, a response David says was without his consent
When the police arrived, both David and Dolores were in the backyard; Dolores still had the letter opener, and David was trying to calm the distressed woman. When Sgt. Courtney Letalien walked into the yard with a shotgun, she immediately tried to remove David from the yard even as he became upset at the sight of the shotgun and repeatedly pleaded with the officer to put the gun away. He explained that he had not been stabbed, that force would be unnecessary and he could calm his wife, even if she would not comply with orders to drop the letter opener.
That was when her partner, Officer George Reed, took the first shot at Dolores Seyfried with a Taser.
Dolores Seyfried had her wrist broken in two places, and 17 staples were required to repair the injuries inflicted on her by police. To add insult to her injuries, the police then chose to search the house against David’s wishes (what they could even have legitimately been searching for is unclear) by declaring “exigent circumstances,” told her husband that they had done him a favour by saving his ass…. oh, and then called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association and reported that David was incapable of taking care of Dolores.
Right. Totally David’s fault for needing to call someone for assistance in dealing with his sick wife, nevermind that the only violent behaviour in this whole story was caused and enacted by the police called in by the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association.
In addition to her serious physical injuries, David reports that this entire incident has caused Dolores’ Alzheimer’s to increase in severity to the point where she now needs 24-hour care from nursing staff. Even if her husband could have lived with her and her Alzheimer’s as it was, the police have destroyed this woman’s fragile grip on her mind with their pointless brutality and destroyed her remaining life with her husband.
Lewisville Police Chief Russ Kerbow declined to comment on the accusations of excessive force and wrongful search and seizure, claiming that it would be “inappropriate for me to comment on pending litigation” . Saying nothing really is the best thing they can say in this instance, I suppose, since their last response was to claim that their violent attack against a elderly, mentally disturbed woman was done for the benefit of her husband… even as they restrained him and removed him from the yard and shot his wife repeatedly over his pleas.
After all, destroying the mind of someone with Alzheimer’s with violence and treating her husband like a criminal without laying any charges is… all in a day’s work for the Lewisville police department. They’re experts at “ensuring safety” by disregarding the rights and needs of the people they are supposed to protect. Just check out how they treat people who report robberies.