After an ambulance was called to the scene of a man lying in the road, authorities say the man was combative and assaulted two officers.
The man’s family has a different take saying that the cops used excessive force on the man as he was coming to after having an epileptic seizure.
Taharqa Dean, of Glassboro, NJ remains in the hospital after sustaining bruising and swelling to his face and hands. He is being guarded by officers from the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department.
The incident began last Wednesday when he received medical attention after being found in the road. He was put on a gurney in the ambulance and restrained with straps.
They drove a few miles with Dean in the back before stopping. It was at this point that they called police for assistance.
When police arrived, they found Dean unstrapping himself, then walking towards one of the officers who was standing near the rear door of the ambulance.
The authorities say that Dean kicked one officer in the chest as he attempted to exit the vehicle.
“The officer was standing with the double doors open, and the person [Dean] then gets up, stands up, completely unbelts himself, walks to the back of the ambulance, and assaults the officer,” Glassboro Police Chief Alex Fanfarillo stated. “That’s when he was taken to the ground, subdued and charged, ultimately.”
Fanfarillo added that one officer was bitten on the “interior of his thigh on his left leg.”
Police also say that Dean tried to remove one of the officer’s guns from its holster.
“There wasn’t any physical contact before the suspect attacked the [officers],” Fanfarillo said. “They made verbal requests [for him] to breath, relax, and then it just got proactive, if you will, once he [the officer] got kicked in the chest.”
Dean is facing charges of disarming a police officer, two counts of assaulting a police officer and improper behavior.
His brother Kwsind Dean said that the alleged victim was unconscious for two days after his arrest and that he acted the way he did due to his epilepsy.
“When he comes out of an epileptic seizure, he has no recollection whatsoever of the event,” Kwsind Dean stated. “He was starting to come out of it, and so all he knew was that someone had him in a vehicle taking him somewhere. It takes him at least 20 minutes to get his bearings back.”
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, symptoms of epileptic seizures include blackouts, confusion, memory loss, and “uncontrollable jerking movements” of the arms and legs.
Since the incident, the Dean family has hired Woodbury-based attorney Stanley King.
“The force used to subdue him was excessive,” King said.
King stated that police should have known he was suffering from a medical condition.
“He does that when he comes out of a seizure and doesn’t know where he is,” King said. “It gives him anxiety.”
He went on, “Someone in the midst of a seizure hasn’t the presence of mind to grab an officer’s gun.
“He is just a harmless medically disabled person who gets beaten and put in the [intensive care unit].”