Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 20, 2012

Peru police Tase Alzheimer patient

Family members outraged by incident, threaten lawsuit

PERU — At least one Peru police officer is on administrative leave after a 64-year-old nursing home resident with advanced-stage Alzheimer’s was Tased three times. Police said he wouldn’t obey their commands.

Three Peru officers and a Dukes EMS unit arrived at Miller’s Merry Manor Nursing Home just before 6 a.m. Sunday after staff reported resident James Howard was combative and struck several employees.

According to police reports, Officers Gregory Martin and Jeremy Brindle entered Howard’s room in the locked-down Alzheimer’s unit and told him to enter the ambulance.

When Howard did not respond to commands, Martin unholstered his Taser and told him he would be Tased if he didn’t comply.

Brindle attempted to gain control of Howard’s arms to restrain him, and a struggle ensued. When Howard turned towards Brindle, Martin then Tased him, which caused Howard to drop to the floor.

Howard was then Tased by Martin two more times while on the ground after ordering him multiple times to roll onto his stomach. Police said Howard resisted constraint and attempted to fight them while on the floor.

Brindle then handcuffed Howard, which left a large, bloody gash on his wrist and escorted him to Duke’s Memorial Hospital. Officers said he was combative in the ambulance until his wife arrived at the hospital and calmed him down.

Howard’s wife, Virginia, called the incident “sadistic” and said she plans to press charges against the officers.

She said her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 13 years ago and doesn’t understand the simplest directions or commands like “sit down or pick up a book.”

“He’s a child trapped in an adult’s body,” she said. “He’s not even at a 2-year-old’s level.”

When Virginia found out James had been Tased by police, she said she was physically ill in the hospital parking lot.

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