Did L.A. Sherriff’s Deputies Burn a Man’s Genitals With Tasers?

This is from Courthouse News Service, so we’ll have to wait and see what shakes out at trial or in the settlement (assuming a settlement gets reported).

 Daniel Johnson, 26, claims the unjustified attack took place on Dec. 6, 2012 at around 9 p.m. after sheriff’s deputies “Abdulfattah” and “Russell” cited his 58-year-old father for littering in front of their home.

Johnson claims the cops brutalized him after he asked why his father faced such a steep fine and eight hours of community service, and pointing out that his father had dropped the cigarette because he has nerve damage in one hand.

Johnson, who is 5 foot 7 and weighs 155 lbs., says he did not threaten, resist or raise his voice to the officers.

“Deputy Abdulfattah responded by belligerently threatening Mr. Johnson, telling him that ‘I can write you a ticket too if you want,'” according to the federal lawsuit.

“At this point, plaintiff’s mother, who had also come outside to see what was going on, told him to go back into the house. He was not being given a ticket, and neither of the officers said anything further to him, so Mr. Johnson turned away and began to walk back toward the house. As he walked away from the officers, Deputy Russell grabbed plaintiff from behind and tried to slam him against the police car. When Mr. Johnson asked why he was assaulting him, Deputy Russell maintained his hold on plaintiff and then tried to slam him against a nearby concrete post. Mr. Johnson’s mother and father repeatedly asked the officers to ‘leave him alone’ because ‘he hasn’t done anything wrong.’ The officers refused.”

Russell then put Johnson in a full Nelson, putting him completely under the officer’s control, at Abdulfattah “hit his father in the face with his fist.” Nelson, still holding Johnson in a full Nelson, then “swept Mr. Johnson’s legs out from under him and tackled him to the ground, slamming plaintiff’s left shoulder into the sidewalk,” according to the complaint.

“After Mr. Johnson was tackled by Deputy Russell, Deputy Abdulfattah repeatedly Tased him in the groin area as he lay on the ground,” the complaint states. “He was not moving or resisting in any way when Deputy Abdulfattah began to Tase him. Mr. Johnson could smell his flesh burning from the Tases and he was screaming in pain. Abdulfattah continued to intentionally shoot his Taser at plaintiff’s genitals every couple seconds. Mr. Johnson begged Abdulfattah to stop Tasing him. His mother and father repeatedly asked Abdulfattah to stop Tasing him. Deputy Abdulfattah did not stop.”

Johnson claims Abdulfattah shocked him up to 10 times in the genitals, then arrested him for battery, though he had not battered anyone, or done anything unlawful.

Of course, we don’t know whether the accuser is reliable. Presumably, if a lawyer agreed to take the case, there must be some chance of “success”—either in court or merely by getting a settlement before trial. The plaintiff alleges in his lawsuit that Abdulfattah has multiple complaints for excessive force on his record.

But the main thing that makes us think the accuser might be telling us the truth is because we have heard of this behavior before. We have seen it on video. We know that police often get away with this behavior. So it makes sense that others would do the same kinds of things. They are sure they can get away with it.