Unwarranted police brutality remains an epidemic in the United States, and it is rare for more than a few days to go by without another shocking story surfacing about law enforcement harming an innocent person either physically or psychologically.
Now, distressing pictures have emerged of a mentally ill man whose face and chest were burned off by the police.
While misconduct of this nature might sound extreme, it is not that rare. In December, a Georgian man named Joe Nathan Goodwin, pictured below, was forced by a Georgia sheriff to behead his own pet dog with a kitchen knife. This happened after the police suspected the animal of having rabies.
The animal, however, had already been shot dead, and Goodwin informed the police that it had been vaccinated against the disease. But they refused to let him get the animal’s vaccination certificates and threatened him with arrest unless he complied.
The upsetting footage is below:
The dog in question had reportedly lunged at an officer, but the cops’ actions still made no sense as they went against standard protocol for rabies testing. If the dog had been infected, their decision to force Goodwin to behead it could have also put his life in danger.
In many incidents of police brutality, force is often used when the person being questioned by law enforcement is unable to reply or satisfactorily comply with the police. At one point, Goodwin was even thrown against his car for being reluctant to behead his dog.
Unfortunately, a lack of understanding on the part of the police was what led to them mutilating 28-year-old James Bradford Nelson.
The shocking incident took place in Citrus Heights, Sacramento last June.
Law enforcement had been called to the scene after it was reported that Nelson was acting “erratically” at a KFC restaurant, The Sacramento Bee reported. Unbeknownst to the police, however, Nelson suffers from a number of mental health conditions.
This includes paranoid schizophrenia, his legal claim revealed, something which is “is exacerbated in extreme conditions of weather.”
In the video below, Nelson’s mother explains how the incident will affect him and his family for the rest of his life:
A total of eight officers were sent to the scene. While it’s not known exactly what happened when they arrived, two of the officers decided to pin Nelson down to the pavement for at least five minutes. The temperature on that day was in excess of 100 degrees in Sacramento.
It has therefore been estimated that the pavement would have been at around 170 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
To put the scale of how hot it was into context, an egg will fry at 144 degrees and human skin is “instantly destroyed” at 162.
“During this time on the ground Nelson was screaming and yelling in excruciating pain,” the legal claim reads.
“However, the officers forced his head down onto the hot pavement, leaning onto it with such force that Nelson could not move it for relief, exposing the right side of his face and neck to the scorching heat of the concrete.”
After Nelson was finally pulled up from the pavement, the police realized that he had been seriously harmed. They subsequently doused him in water and called an ambulance, which arrived 20 minutes later.
Nelson was then forced to spend a total of two months in hospital – racking up a bill of $1.8 million.
In addition to the burns that Nelson suffered on his face and his torso, he suffered burns to his thighs and buttocks too. The heat also left him suffering from liver and kidney failure.
In fact, Nelson was unconscious at the scene by the time the ambulance arrived.
Now, Nelson is suing the city for $26 million in compensation. This includes the cost of his medical treatment, $25 million in “general damages” and an undisclosed amount in punitive damages against the officers involved.
CCTV footage from the KFC where Nelson had been behaving erratically shows the 28-year-old attempting to hit the restaurant manager, something which also cannot be excused and must be dealt with accordingly.
Citrus Heights police chief Ronald Lawrence refused to comment on the incident, saying that the case’s resolution will “involve the judicial system, and will not be resolved in the court of public opinion.”