COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — The Compton chapter of the NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into the July 14 beating of a mentally disabled man by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
Civil right activists say the beating left Barry Montgomery with permanent injuries – facial fractures, including a fractured eye socket, seven broken ribs, and several other injuries.
“Barry Montgomery, a 29-year-old mentally disabled man, was harassed and then beaten for 25 minutes by L.A. sheriff officers while he was handcuffed…causing massive permanent injuries,” said Paulette Simpson-Gipson, the president of the Compton branch of the NAACP. “We see no justification for the brutality inflicted to Mr. Barry Montgomery.”
Simpson-Gipson says the Compton NAACP is calling for the Justice Department to conduct a fast-track investigation into Montgomery’s beating.
“The beating is a clear violation of his civil rights,” she said.
According to sheriff’s Capt. Britta Steinbrenner, deputies confronted Montgomery at about 9:25 p.m. on July 14 at Enterprise Park on Clovis Avenue after smelling what they believed to be marijuana in the area of the bench where he was sitting.
While he was in the process of being detained, Montgomery became “verbally confrontational and subsequently attempted to punch one of the deputies,” Steinbrenner said.
According to family members, Montgomery, who weighs just 110 pounds and has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic with Tourrets syndrome, is very timid and was on medication that night he went to the park to play basketball.
“They beat him for no reason, because he doesn’t respond. He does not respond, he does not talk,” a family member said.
After Montgomery was treated at the hospital, he was booked at the sheriff’s Compton Station on suspicion of obstructing/resisting an executive officer, a felony, and a misdemeanor offense of marijuana possession. He was released on July 17 after posting bond, Steinbrenner said.
One deputy also suffered undisclosed injuries during the confrontation and received medical treatment, Steinbrenner said.
The confrontation is being investigated by the sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
“The sheriff’s department takes all allegations seriously, and will investigate them appropriately,” Nishida said.
The department also was investigating how many deputies were involved in the arrest, and whether any shots were fired, Steinbrenner said.
The deputies have been reassigned to desk duty, Nishida said.
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