The police keep messing up but they are the ones that we pay to protect us. Antonio Love is deaf and mentally disabled, and he was tasered and pepper sprayed by the police. Now, all of this really wasn’t called for at the General Dollar Store…
Mobile police used pepper spray and a Taser on a deaf and mentally disabled man Friday after they were unable to get him to come out of a bathroom at a Dollar General store, authorities said.
After forcibly removing Antonio Love from the bathroom of the Azalea Road store, officers attempted to book the 37-year-old, on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a police officer, but the magistrate on duty at the jail refused to accept any of those charges.
Love’s family members said they had no idea where he was during the time that police had him in custody.
Brodrick Love said the officers dropped his brother off in the parking lot of their apartment building without saying what happened or why his brother had been missing for six hours.
Love’s family members have filed a formal complaint against the officers.
Christopher Levy, a Police Department spokesman, said the officers didn’t find out that Love had a hearing impairment until after they got him out of the bathroom and found a card in his wallet indicating he was deaf.
The officers’ decision to take Love to jail — even after they discovered his disability — as well as their conduct throughout the incident is still under investigation, Levy said.
Use of the Taser and the pepper spray appear to be justified according to the department’s policy, he said.
Love, whose family said his mental abilities are about that of a 10-year-old, wrote them a narrative of the incident as he recalled it.
The hand-scrawled, six-page note and the official police account of the confrontation are strikingly similar in their recitation of the chain of events.
Police were called to the store at 12:22 p.m. after someone reported that a man had been in the bathroom for more than an hour behind a locked door, said Cpl. Charles Bagsby, another police spokesman.
When the officers arrived, they pounded on the door but got no answer, Bagsby said. They pounded again. No answer.
Bagsby declined to say how many officers were involved.
Love, speaking in sign language that was then translated by his family, said he was in the bathroom because he was sick to his stomach.
“I wait and sit toilet,” Love’s note read. “I think about someone try break door. I hold door hard.”
At that point, Bagsby said, the officers saw movement from under the door, indicating that there was someone inside. They then shot pepper spray under the door.
“The police arrive General Dollar and throw poison through under the door,” Love’s note continued. “I can smell poison and I’m amazing and shock.”
Love turned the water on to wash the irritating chemicals off his face.
“Then I’m think someone gone.”
The officers, according to the Bagsby’s account, went to get a tire iron to pry the door open.
“Then again someone knock knock,” the note reads. “My head hold door, and my hand put hold lock the door. I spit poison with water. Someone hit hard hard.”
The officers broke into the room.
“I’m almost fall and surprise the police here. The police get the tazz three strings in my stomach, chest and hand and hit my head. I’m falled.”
The officers put him in the car. He waited.
“Police wait long. I’m patient,” the note said.
The officers took him to Mobile County Metro Jail to book him, Bagsby said.
“I saw police laugh at me,” Love wrote in the note. “I don’t care them. I don’t want escape. I just wait long.” The magistrate refused to sign the arrest warrant, voiding the officers’ legal right to hold Love.
The officers took him home.
According to the note, Love gave directions as best he could.
“Police told me that I’m crazy. I don’t understand,” the note says.
The police eventually found his house.
“When he walked in, his shirt was ripped, and he was just in a daze,” his brother, Brodrick Love, said. “When I went outside, they (the police) took off. They stamped on that pedal.”
In an interview Monday afternoon, Love told the Press-Register he had been a customer at the Dollar General numerous times in the past, and he estimated it was about half an hour from the time he entered the bathroom until the pepper spray started coming in.
Love said he did not open the door because he thought “the devil was trying to come in.”
Michelle Jones, director of the Mobile division of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, said miscommunication between police and the deaf is all too common, though her office works to minimize it by conducting training sessions with police departments in the area.
Federal disabilities law requires law enforcement to seek a translator in situations like Love’s, she said.
Levy said an interpreter was called for but later cancelled when the officers learned that one of the responding ambulance workers knew sign language.
No credentialed interpreter was ever made available.
Late Monday, Love said, he was never told through an interpreter or shown on paper his Miranda rights — the right not to disclose information and the right to an attorney — required to be told to arrested persons.
Since the incident, Love’s family said, he hasn’t been himself. He’s been scared of anyone in a police uniform, they said.
His mother, Phyllis Love, said she’s thinking of contacting a lawyer.
“If they had done it in the right way,” Brodrick Love said, “we wouldn’t be going this route.”
One-Time better get it together, law suits are about to start flowing!!!