Georgia man seeks changes after police stun, cuff him
BLYTHE, Ga. (AP) — A 62-year-old Georgia man who said he was shocked by police and handcuffed after a debilitating diabetic episode is speaking out.
Walter McNeil, of Hephzibah, said Blythe Police got it wrong Dec. 5 when he suffered the episode. He said he wants to ensure officers can distinguish between a medical emergency and an uncooperative person.
Police Chief Rick Worman said the case has been turned over to Blythe City Attorney Chris Dube, who said he reviewed the file and the officers acted appropriately considering the circumstances.
News outlets report that McNeil was driving home from a doctor’s appointment when he missed his exit and somehow ended up in the city of Blythe. A diabetic, McNeil says his blood-sugar level had dropped to 30 from its usual average around 120.
A police report says McNeil nearly hit an off-duty Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy, took out a mailbox and posed a danger.
McNeil said he doesn’t know how any of it happened.
“I don’t remember too much about going home, I don’t even remember passing my exit up here on Tobacco Road, all I know is when I got out there in Blythe, the car was just all over the place and I’m trying to fight to keep it on the road and I couldn’t,” said McNeil.
A police incident report says McNeil tried to back up and that’s why officers are seen in video footage breaking his window and dragging him out of the car.
“One of the deputies had his knee down around my head, holding me down and they were tasing me all up in here and once they got through that they just got me off the ground handcuffed me and put me in the back of the truck,” said McNeil.
On the video, McNeil is heard trying to tell officers he needed help.
“I needed their help, getting out of the car I couldn’t have gotten out on my own,” he said. “I could barely walk from the ground when they picked me up I could barely walk to the car.”
Though police report McNeil ignored verbal commands, the family said officers failed at their job and they have a lesson to learn too.
McNeil said the officers never assessed the situation but “just started doing stuff.”
“They knocked out the window, tried to pull me out the car. You fighting with me, but I ain’t fighting with you,” he said.