The family of a mentally ill Black man is suing the city of Long Beach after he was beaten with a baton and tased by police officers and a security guard while suffering a mental health episode. According to Long Beach Post News, 25-year-old Eugene Martindale III was seeking assistance when he was confronted by cops during the February incident.
“Martindale needed help; not beatings,” his attorney said on Tuesday (Oct. 13).
According to the lawsuit, Martindale had approached several people inside their cars to ask if he could borrow a cell phone to call his father. The suit notes that he did not have a phone of his own.
“Martindale is African American and has a mental disability which at times causes him to seek assistance from bystanders to call his father to pick him up,” the lawsuit reads.
However, a nearby security guard misinterpreted Martindale’s actions and assumed he was trying to steal one of the cars.
“He’s not a carjacker,” Martindale’s father said. “He’s not an angel, but he doesn’t even know how to drive.”
Police say that as the situation escalated, Martindale began climbing on top of the cars. According to his lawyers, he suffers from mental episodes that can include panicking, anxiety attacks and delusions.
The lawsuit notes that Martindale also asked the security guard for help, but the guard used a taser against him. Running away from the guard in fear, Martindale then approached a nearby parking enforcement employee and pleaded, “Call 911; I need help!” The guard chased down Martindale and tased him again.
When the four police officers arrived, Martindale’s lawyers say he raised his hands and laid face-down on the ground. However, police have claimed that he “began to thrash his body and resist” and tried to grab the security guard’s neck.
A disturbing clip of Martindale’s detainment, filmed by an onlooker, showed the cops beating him with a baton. The video made rounds on social media and prompted outcry from the community.
“I was sick to my stomach, I could hardly watch it,” his father said.
In addition to the cops’ excessive baton usage, Martindale’s lawyers are also claiming they used a wrist-lock and carotid-control hold against him. The latter maneuver cuts off blood-flow to the brain and was banned by the Long Beach Police Department after the death of George Floyd.
“Once again, we have an unarmed Black man who was brutalized by law enforcement,” one of Martindale’s family’s lawyers said in a statement. “For those of you who say, ‘You just have to cooperate with law enforcement if you do not want to get hurt’... Mr. Martindale’s case shows that even if you cooperate — you place your hand in surrender position to show you have no weapons, you drop to the ground as told, you don’t resist — law enforcement may still beat you for no apparent reason… other than perhaps the color of your skin.”
After the arrest, Martindale was taken to a local hospital and released the next day without “any significant injuries,” according to police. His lawsuit is seeking damages for emotional distress, physical pain and loss of income.
See a local news report including the video below.