Antonio Martinez is a 22-year-old man diagnosed with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a condition caused by an error in cell division known as nondisjunction and results in learning and developmental delays. So although Martinez is twenty-two, he has the cognitive abilities more akin to a seven year old.
While walking to his parent’s bakery in San Diego County, where he helps out, Martinez saw a police car pull up behind him. Unfortunately for him, in the car was Officer Jeffery Guy, who ordered Martinez to stop regardless of the fact that he lacked even a semblance of a reason to do so.
Martinez was then doused with pepper spray and assaulted on the arms and legs with a police baton. Afterward, he was transported to the police station for “questioning” and was jailed for up to five hours. This occurred despite Martinez’s sister yelling at the police officer that her brother had Down syndrome, and also the mildly inconvenient fact that Martinez had done nothing wrong, besides, apparently, taking a peaceful walk outside in broad daylight.
Under oath, Police Captain Joe Rodi was asked about the incident and confessed that it was an illegal stop:
“What did he do wrong?” asked Basile.
“He did not have reasonable suspicion to stop and use force on him,” said Captain Rodi.
As for Officer Guy himself, he refuses to admit fault and openly claims that he would do everything exactly the same if given the chance. Officer Guy seems to have a history of aggressive behavior with the Free Thought Project reporting that:
“According to the San Jose Mercury News, Guy had six use of force incidents in only one of his eight years with the department. The instances include; using an impact weapon three times, a take-down maneuver once, pepper spray once and excess force or filing a false report.“
Despite admitting it was an illegal altercation, the police department has no plans to formally apologize, though they did bizarrely offer the family a turkey “with all the trimmings”. Martinez’s family was willing to monetarily settle the matter out of court if the police department, in addition to an apology, released their policy on dealing with the mentally disabled and required Officer Guy to volunteer for the Special Olympics. The police department, according to the family’s attorney Jude Basile, refused to order the officer to volunteer and oh so reassuringly confessed they had no policies on how to deal with the mentally handicapped.
This case is now going to trial.