Chicago Police Use Stun Gun On Wrong Guy At Least Five TimesJosue Tapia Was Pulled Over And Taken Into Custody After Mixup Over Warrant; Man Says He's Not a Gang Member
Reporting Suzanne Le Mignot, CBS2 Chicago
May. 26, 2010
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CHICAGO (CBS) ― He was zapped by a Chicago Police stun gun at least five times.
Josue Tapia still has the marks on his body to prove it. The problem is: Police got the wrong guy.
CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot talked to him in his hospital room.
Tapia shows marks he says were caused by a stun gun used by Chicago police. Tapia says he's been hospitalized for the past six days and was shackled to his hospital bed.
"I remember the voltage, because I was screaming," he says. "I just remember being on the floor all the time, pain in my back, you know, being stomped on."
Tapia says he was with his wife, Marlyn, Saturday night in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. They had just bought milk for their one-year-old child. They were pulled over by police for a traffic stop.
"They said they ran his name and he didn't have no warrant, so that's the reason why they let him go," Marlyn recalls.
According to the police report, moments later, the computer in the squad car showed there was an active warrant for Tapia's arrest, matching his description. Officers turned around because they had probable cause to stop him.
Josue Tapia says he thinks police then told him there was a warrant out on him. Things went bad from there, the couple says.
"All my husband did was turn around and say, 'What's going on officer?'" Marlyn said. "That's when the officer grabbed him and threw him there and said, 'Stop resisting!'"
She said police were "on top of him, attacking him." Police used a stun gun on him five times, the wife says.
The police report says, after further investigation, the warrant that officers were investigating, was not for Josue Tapia. Instead, a "Juan Tapia" with the same date of birth was wanted on a warrant.
Josue Tapia says the mixup has been a "nightmare" for him.
He admits he has priors such as domestic battery, ecstasy possession and aggravated battery of a police sheriff. Police say he is a gang member. Tapia says he is not. They also say he elbowed an officer in the chest, then tried to get back in his truck, which was the first step in resisting arrest.
A Taser deployed by an officer and a sergeant failed to stop him from resisting, according to the police report, so officers had to conduct an emergency takedown.
Josue Tapia said police handled him too roughly.
"Try not to handle individuals as an animal," he said.
Tapia was charged with seven counts of resisting arrest and obstruction and four counts of aggravated battery because two officers, a sergeant and paramedic were injured. He was also cited for having no insurance, no seatbelt on, no turn signal and not obeying a stop sign.
Josue Tapia says he'll still live in the same area. But he said he's afraid that he cannot prevent another wrong arrest by police. Chicago Police say the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident.
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