Suit Accuses Skeptical Police Of Dragging Paraplegic Man Out Of
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 13, 2004
LAS VEGAS, NEW MEXICO--A 66-year-old man is suing New Mexico State Police officers, accusing them of pulling him out of his car and dragging him across the ground after they refused to believe that he was paraplegic.
Amador Quintana filed a suit in state court Friday against State Police Officers Jody Kerr and Paul Chavez, along with State Police Chief Carlos Maldonado, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
According to the lawsuit, Quintana went to the state police office in his home town of Pecos last September to file a complaint against a neighbor. Because of a record-keeping error, the two officers believed that there was a warrant for Quintana's arrest, even though he had actually satisfied his court obligations.
After Quintana told the officers he had the court documents at home, they said they were placing him under arrest. Then they ordered him to get out of his car and get into a police car that was 20 to 30 feet away.
Quintana's wife told the officers that her husband was paraplegic and needed a wheelchair. One officer took the keys, without asking permission, and searched the trunk for the wheelchair, which the couple had left home.
Quintana alleges that the officers then pulled him out of the car, allowing his body and legs to hit the ground. Then they dragged him across the gravel to the police car.
Quintana's wife went home to get the wheelchair. When she returned, Mr. Quintana was still on the same spot on the ground.
The officers allowed Quintana to go home about two hours later.
Quintana was treated for cuts and abrasions on his back and torso at a nearby hospital, the lawsuit states.
The suit seeks damages from the state Department of Public Safety. Chief Maldonado is named as a defendant for allegedly failing to provide the officers with adequate training.
"It suggests to me that there is a serious lack of training when it comes to how to deal with paraplegic and quadriplegic citizens," said Richard Rosenstock, the attorney representing Quintana. "I can't believe that they actually are trained to do this."
The department refused to comment on the suit.