Police in West Virginia were caught on video violently arresting a terminally-ill man after mistaking the symptoms of his illness for drunkenness.
In the harrowing footage, the man can be seen bleeding from the face and heard choking on the blood while police refuse to give him room to breathe and recover.
According the local news outlet, Morgantown’s Dominion Post:
Jeffery Brian Bane, 39, was arrested Saturday, Sept. 6, and charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing an officer and battery on an officer.
But…a closer look at the criminal complaint tells a different story.
“The children appeared to be overheated, and when asked about provisions that he had with him for the children, Bane struck the stroller violently with his hand, pushing it forward abruptly while his infant son was still seated inside,” the complaint said.
This is actually a story about police harassing and assaulting a terminally-ill man. They simply confused his symptoms for intoxication.
A statement to the Free Thought Project by his nephew, Josh Banes explains that he actually suffers from Huntington’s Disease, which he described as being “very similar to Parkinson’s.”
“Assuming because of his appearance he was high on narcotics with out reason they began to sub due him, macing and beating him in the head as he fell to his face were he was then held with a great amount of force by two officers double his size as a third one landed on his torso,” the statement read. “For the the next ten minutes as my cousins watch unattended, my uncle pleads and cries out in pain for the lack of breath and agony being applied to him.”
According to the Huntington Disease Society of America, (HDSA) the disease, which is hereditary and incurable, prompts deterioration of nerve cells in the brain.
“As the disease progresses, concentration and short-term memory diminish and involuntary movements of the head, trunk and limbs increase,” the HDSA states on its website. “Walking, speaking and swallowing abilities deteriorate. Eventually the person is unable to care for him or herself. Death follows from complications such as choking, infection or heart failure.”
A female bystander came upon the arrest and was so disturbed by what she saw that she called an ambulance and started filming with her mobile phone. After a short while she is approached by an officer and herself threatened with arrest.
“How are you involved with this guy?” he asks.
“I just was driving by,” she replies. “This is insane. I’m not doing anything wrong, either, and I’m on private property,”
She demands to know why the officers are refusing to handcuff the suspect even though he is bleeding and gurgling.
“He is choking on his own blood,” she says. “I can hear it from my car.”
“Okay, but these aren’t your kids and you don’t know –” the officer says. But she cuts him off with:
“No, I don’t,” she says. “But this is wrong.”
“If you want to continue filming, that’s okay,” the officer says. “If you continue to be loud and boisterous, I will arrest you for obstructing, okay?”
“Just leave me alone,” she replies.
The Bane’s family have launched an online campaign to have the charges against him dropped.
The video of Banes’ arrest can be seen below: