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Cops "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him

Published: July 1, 2011
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Source: Courthouse News Service

DAYTON, Ohio (CN) - Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy's mom says.
     
Pamela Ford says her "mentally challenged/handicapped" son Jesse Kersey, 17, was riding his bike near his Dayton home when Officer Willie Hooper stopped him and tried to talk to him.
     
The mom says that "Prior to the incident described below, defendant Hooper knew Jesse and was aware that Jesse was mentally challenged/handicapped and a minor child."
     
Nonetheless, Ford says, Hooper "apparently took Jesse's speech impediment for disrespect ... [and] began yelling at Jesse and after Jesse attempted to communicate with him[.] Jesse, being a minor and mentally challenged/handicapped, turned and rode his bike back to his home in an attempt to ask his mother, Ford, to help him communicate with defendant Cooper," according to the complaint in Montgomery County Court.
     
On the way, the mom says, "A neighbor attempted to communicate with Officer Hooper about Jesse's disabilities and was told to go back into his home, or he would be arrested."

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