Jesse Kersey, Mentally Disabled Teen, Tasered, Beaten & Pepper Sprayed by Ohio Police
A mentally disabled Ohio teen was Tasered, beaten and pepper-sprayed by Dayton police who mistook his speech impediment for disrespect, Courthouse News Service reports.
Seventeen-year-old Jesse Kersey was riding his bike near his home when officer Willie Hooper stopped him to talk to him. According to Pamela Ford, Kersey’s mother, Hooper was aware of Jesse’s disability but “apparently took Jesse’s speech impediment for disrespect… [and] began yelling at Jesse and after Jesse attempted to communicate with him… turned and rode his bike back to his home in an attempt to ask his mother to help him communicate with Cooper.”
As Ford opened her front door, Hooper and fellow officer John Howard “fired their Tasers, striking Jesse in the back with both probes.”
According to the complaint filed in the Montgomery County Court, “once inside the house, defendant Hooper and defendant Howard began to struggle with Jesse, who was standing against the back door with his hands up in front of his face, saying ‘Please quit, please quit.'”
“On numerous occasions, Ford and a family friend… informed Officer Hooper that Jesse was mentally challenged/handicapped, and that Jesse did not understand what was happening,” the complaint says.
Still, the officers continued their brutal attack. “Officer Howard utilized his Cap-Stun pepper spray and sprayed Jesse…. [and] struck Jesse with a closed fist in the upper chest area. Officer Howard utilized his ASP (a tactical baton) and repeatedly struck Jesse in the… thigh.”
The officers called for back up and, incredibly, 20 police officers from multiple jurisdictions showed up.
“At no point, even after being advised of Jesse’s mental challenge/handicap by Jesse’s family and numerous bystanders, did defendant Hooper, defendant Howard, or any other police officer present, attempt to communicate with Jesse or explain in terms he could understand as to why Jesse was being chased,” the complaint states.
Eventually, Kersey was subdued. He was handcuffed and hogtied, then thrown in the back seat of a police cruiser and hauled off to jail on charges of assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest and obstruction of official business.
Luckily, the Montgomery County Juvenile Court found him incompetent, and all the charges against him have been dropped.
Kersey and his mother are now seeking damages from the city of Dayton as well as the officers involved. They face accusations of false imprisonment and arrest, malicious prosecution, assault, battery, excessive use of force, infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.
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