Man with epilepsy sues city for arrest during seizure

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INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis man with epilepsy is taking the city to federal court, accusing two officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department of beating him while he was having a seizure.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 1, claims there was excessive force, assault, false arrest and false imprisonment. It also calls into question the training of two IMPD officers who were involved.

“All I do is hurt myself when I have a seizure, I don’t hurt nobody else,” said Randy Lynn, who said he has had epileptic seizures since age 7.

In February 2011, Lynn had just finished helping his sister clear snow and ice from a sidewalk from her place of employment in the 2500 block of West Washington Street. As he was walking back home, he said a seizure caused him to fall down and bloody his nose.  After falling, a witness said Lynn stumbled around in a dazed state.

After the witness called authorities, two IMPD officers were the first to arrive.

According to a police report, the officers thought Lynn was intoxicated.  When they tried to put Lynn in handcuffs, he resisted.  The struggle included the officers wrestling Lynn to the ground, hitting him in the head three times and shocking him with a taser three times. At one point, the officers thought Lynn was trying to disarm them.

The police report, filed on Feb. 11, 2011, stated “While Mr. Lynn was being tased in his lower back, he did reach back with his right hand and grab ahold of the taser and was attempting to pull it away.”

Lynn said it was the seizure, not drugs or alcohol that caused him to resist.  He said he has no memory of the encounter with police.

“They took me to the hospital and they didn’t drug test me or check my urine or anything,” Lynn said.  “They just left me there for three or four hours then took me downtown.”

The officers charged Lynn with public intoxication and resisting law enforcement. Both charges were dismissed in November of 2012.

Lynn’s attorney, Mark Sniderman, said the federal lawsuit is seeking monetary damages.  However, it’s also intended to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“We want citizens to be protected and we want police officers to be protected,” Sniderman said.  “Best way to do that is through education and training.”

The lawsuit also contains civil rights counts, claiming Lynn’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

IMPD told Fox59 they could not comment on the pending litigation.

A message left with the city’s legal department was not returned as of the posting of this story Tuesday evening.

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