A slightly built 29-year-old with mental illness has made a habit of going to a Compton park to shoot baskets on the outdoor court. But when he stayed beyond park closing time Monday night, he left in an ambulance after an encounter with Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies.
Barry Montgomery was hospitalized with injuries to his back, ribs, and face, including possible fractures of the eye socket bones.
Deputies kicked and beat him with fists and batons even after he was subdued and handcuffed, according to attorneys who contend he was subjected to excessive force and "street justice."
The sheriff's department confirms the incident is under investigation by an internal affairs unit.
Friday evening, sheriff's deputies returned to Enterprise Park, and inside an area marked off with yellow crime scene tape, investigators and criminalists combed the scene for additional evidence.
Montgomery was wrestled to the ground after a deputy ordered him to leave the park and he failed to do so, Montgomery said Friday as he left County-USC Medical Center in a wheelchair.
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"They cursed at me first and that's how it got into a fight," said Montgomery, who said he still had pain in his ribs and around his eyes.
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Three deputies were present during the confrontation, according to Capt. Britta Steinbrenner of the LA County Sheriff's Department.
"We got in a fight and then they wrestled me down to the ground and I got bruises and it…seems like I been to battle," Montgomery said.
The initial report said they smelled marijuana and were following up when Montgomery became combative.
He stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, according to booking information.
His sister, Ty Montgomery, said he's a paranoid schizophrenic who does not always respond when spoken to. He still lives in his parents' home a few blocks from Enterprise Park, and walks there, bringing his own basketball.
"By him being schizophrenic and ignoring the officers, I guess they thought he was ignoring them on purpose. But he, it’s not on purpose. He doesn't communicate. He's a paranoid schizophrenic, he just walks up the street. Walk back, play ball," Ty Montgomery said.
Family attorneys said they have located witnessed who saw additional deputies arrive after Montgomery was handcuffed.
A group of deputies allegedly used a key to open the locked park restroom and took Montgomery inside.
Sounds of additional beatings and slamming of doors could be heard from outside, according to one man who told NBC4 by phone that deputies were not aware of his presence in the darkness.
He contended responding paramedics were held back 10 minutes before being allowed to attend to Montgomery.
Another man, cited by the attorneys as a witness, has posted cellphone video, but it is too dark and grainy to make out what is happening.
Attorneys Eric Morris and Martin Kaufman believe there are additional videos they have yet to see.
After his initial hospitalization, Montgomery was transferred Wednesday to the Los Angeles County Jail. The LA County District Attorney filed a charge of resisting an executive officer.
Thursday the family made arrangments for Montgomery to be released that night on bail.
This did not occur at the expected time, they said, and unaware of his whereabouts, they frantically searched downtown streets near the Men's Central Jail complex.
Friday morning, they learned he had been sent to County-USC Medical Center, first to the emergency room, and later to an opthamology clinic for an eye examination.
"(It felt) like a nightmare. It’s just like, I couldn’t believe it. Felt like I was in this dream," his mother Denise Montgomery said.
Family members met him inside the clinic.
Montgomery faces arraignment next Wednesday. Family and attorneys are hopeful the charges against him will be dismissed.
Beverly White contributed to this report.