A Pennsylvania man has filed a lawsuit claiming that he was injured last year after police officers tased him without identifying themselves as he was riding his bike, then beat him until he was unconscious.
All for not having a headlight.
Edgardo Garcia Fontanez, 41, was riding his bicycle a block away from his home when Allentown Police Officer Ryan Murray attempted to pull him over for not having a headlight. He claims that he heard someone yelling for him to stop, but was unaware that it was law enforcement.
Moments later, Fontanez says he was tased in the back, causing him to crash his bike.
The lawsuit continues on to state that Fontanez was then subjected to a second tasing, as Murray and another unidentified officer punched him in his face, head, and body until he fell unconscious, The Morning Call reports.
He was hospitalized with injuries to his face and head following the assault.
The police claim that they had tried to stop and ticket him, but that he fled, knocking pedestrians out of the way. Their report states that they used a “reasonable amount of force” to detain him and bring him into custody, but failed to mention anything about the tasing. The lawsuit alleges that among the injuries recorded at the hospital were burns from the taser probes.
“There have been several catastrophic cases where people hit with a Taser while running have fallen and hit a curb,” Fontanez’s attorney, Patrick Geckle told The Morning Call. “I have a real problem with using a Taser on someone who was riding a bicycle.”
Taser has repeatedly warned against using the device on a person who is at risk of falling. As of June 23, 31 of the 534 people killed by police in 2015 were killed with tasers.
The lawsuit states that the incident was caused by the city turning a blind eye to problems in the police department such as excessive force, failure to monitor and discipline officers, failure to enforce policies and procedures or to train officers in the proper use of Tasers. The suit is seeking $300,000 in damages and names the city and two police officers, who they believe are liable for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.