The NYPD is facing questions over two incidents involving officers using stun guns on civilians, including one man who was tased while in a diabetic shock, and another who claims to have partial vision loss.
Despite protests continuing in the city for the 14th day in a row over police tactics and brutality, harrowing stories continue to emerge from those who have been subject to questionable methods.
Shawn Collins told NBC New York that officers used a stun gun on him for five minutes while he was in the midst of a medical emergency back in February. He said he woke up in a hospital bed, bloodied and bruised with taser barbs stuck to his stomach – without any idea of how he got there.
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“I had bruises on my head, my back was hurting, my back still hurts,” Collins told NBC New York over the phone.
If it wasn’t for police body camera footage, he may have never known the real answer. The video shows officers showing up to Collins home at the time, a men’s shelter on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Paramedics were already at the scene to help Collins as he was in diabetic shock.
That’s when officers approach Collins, and things escalated quickly after that. The officers used their stun guns on Collins for several minutes, demanding he get on the ground. Collins says he likely couldn’t respond because he was in diabetic shock.
“If you can see I’m unresponsive, I could be looking at you not knowing what’s going on,” Collins said.
Collins’ attorney Abraham Rubert-Schewel says they’ve filed a notice of claim against the city, alleging excessive force and false arrest. He says the officers were warned about the medical condition, which can cause irritability and confusion.
“Once he’s handcuffed and there’s three officers lying on his back with their knees in his back, they continue to tase him as he’s handcuffed,” Rubert-Schewel said. “The effects of a taser on someone who’s diabetic can be death.”
The NYPD said that Collins was charged with assault at the time of the incident over the winter. However, his attorney said those charges were dropped last month after the district attorney reviewed the video.
While officers can be heard saying Collins was kicking and biting them, Rubert-Schewel said that doesn’t justify what happened.
“Even if it does come out as a proven fact that Mr. Collins did bite one of the officers after he was attacked by the officer, their level of force was still not justified,” the attorney said.
In another controversial and more recent case, a Brooklyn man said officers went too far when they used stun guns on him earlier in June — and says he's blind in one eye because of it.
Kenneth Bacote said NYPD officers tased him in the face out of the Kingsborough Houses in Crown Heights while he was outside looking for his son.
The circumstances surrounding the case are still not clear, but Bacote was arrested and is facing charges in the encounter. Outside of the 77th precinct Wednesday afternoon, his attorney didn't want to say much becuase they are fighting the charges, but they did say they want the officers involved to be held accountable.
The NYPD told NBC New York the case in under an internal investigation.