Diabetic Sues Akron Police Over Beating: Police Used Pepper Spray, Stun Gun On Man In A Diabetic Coma

Oct. 08, 2005

AKRON, Ohio -- A man in a diabetic coma who was slumped over the steering wheel of his car is suing Akron police who mistook him for a drunken driver.

According to police reports, the officers used pepper spray on Merle Belford when he wouldn't get out of the car. After pulling him out, police then kneed him in the ribs and thigh, elbowed him in the head and shocked him four times with a stun gun after he resisted being handcuffed.

Belford, 56, filed a lawsuit against the officers and the city of Akron on Thursday.

He said his civil rights were violated because his disease was treated as a crime. He also said he was subject to an unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force.

Belford is seeking more than $25,000 in damages and a requirement that police be trained to recognize diabetic comas.

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