NAACP Calls for Federal Probe Into Deputy Beating of Mentally Ill Man

Barry Montgomery, a 29-year-old mentally disabled man, was beaten by LA County Sheriff's deputies on July 14

The NAACP called Wednesday for a federal investigation into the July 14 beating by sheriff's deputies of a mentally disabled man at a city park.

Barry Montgomery suffered facial fractures, a fractured eye socket, seven broken ribs, and other injuries, according to Paulette Simpson-Gipson, president of the Compton branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"Barry Montgomery, a 29-year-old mentally disabled man, was harassed and then beaten for 25 minutes by L.A. sheriff officers while he was handcuffed ... causing massive permanent injuries," Simpson-Gipson said. "We see no justification for the brutality inflicted to Mr. Barry Montgomery.

"The beating is a clear violation of his civil rights."

Sheriff's Internal Affairs Bureau detectives are investigating the case, sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

"The sheriff's department takes all allegations seriously, and will investigate them appropriately," Nishida said.

The incident happened July 14, when several deputies confronted Montgomery in Enterprise Park, in the 13000 block of Clovis Avenue.

Deputies smelled what they believed to be marijuana in the area of the bench where he was sitting, according to sheriff's Capt. Britta Steinbrenner.

Montgomery became "verbally confrontational and subsequently attempted to punch one of the deputies" while he was being detained, Steinbrenner said.

During the struggle, he suffered several injuries and was taken to a hospital, Steinbrenner said.

Though several deputies were gathered, the sheriff's department said only three deputies were involved in taking Montgomery into custody. 

After Montgomery was treated at the hospital, he was booked at the sheriff's Compton Station on suspicion of obstructing/resisting an executive officer, a felony and a misdemeanor offense of marijuana possession.

He was released on July 17 after posting bond, Steinbrenner said.

A deputy also suffered undisclosed injuries during the confrontation and received medical treatment, Steinbrenner said.

Montgomery's lawyer emphasized that size difference between the 104-pound Montgomery and the deputy is drastic.

"And even worse, we have Tazer marks where they actually took the Tazer and (jammed) it into his back ripping the skin off of his body," Montgomery's lawyer Martin Kaufman said.

When asked whether or not deputies used weapons such as a a baton or a Tazer, Nishida said that she did not "know if they used weapons" and added that because of the ongoing investigation, she could not disclose that information. 

Montgomery's sister, Ty Montgomery, told NBC4 that her brother is a paranoid schizophrenic who doesn't always respond when he is spoken to.

He 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," Ty Montgomery said. "But ... its not on purpose. He doesn't communicate. He's a paranoid schizophrenic, he just walks up the street. Walk back, play ball."

Sheriff's officials said that the three deputies involved in this incident have been reassigned desk duty.

City News Service and NBC4's Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

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