GADSDEN, Ala. (CN) - Gadsden police "repeatedly kneed, kicked, [and] punched" a diabetic man in the face, breaking his bones and teeth, while sheriff's deputies stood around and watched "as he begged for mercy and help," the man claims in Federal Court. Shawn Edlin says he suffered the beating while handcuffed, though a nurse at the jail had confirmed his ill condition.
Edlin sued the City of Gadsden, its Police Department and police chief, police Officer Brent Whisenant, and the Etowah County Sheriff's Department and sheriff, in Etowah County Court.
Edlin says Whisenant arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving - a common beginning for a complaint like this. Diabetics have sued police departments repeatedly, around the country, saying that poorly trained cops beat them, mistaking their illness for drunkenness.
Edlin says Whisenant arrested and handcuffed him and took him to the Etowah County Jail, where a Sheriff's Department nurse "confirmed Mr. Edlin's sugar level was 310."
Such a high sugar level can cause illness, including diabetic coma, ketoacidosis and death, if not treated.
"After receiving this information, the Sheriff's Department accepted Mr. Edlin as a prisoner without treatment, the arresting officer provoked Mr. Edlin then proceeded to assault and batter him with the aid and indifference of the Sheriff's Department and their deputies," the complaint states. "Mr. Edlin was punched in the face on videotape by a police officer while in handcuffs.
"Mr. Edlin suffered lacerations requiring stitches and/or sutures, broken bones and teeth, loss of blood, pain, humiliation, anger, emotional and mental distress, bruises and contusions to his face and body.
"Mr. Edlin's assault was captured on surveillance video and audio. Mr. Edlin was repeatedly kneed, kicked, punched or stabbed in the face as he begged for mercy and help."
Edlin seeks punitive damages for constitutional violation, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, failure to train and supervise, and other charges. He is represented by Vincent Pentecost.