A 65-year-old Wisconsin man with Parkinson’s Disease dialed 911 for a medical emergency Friday, only for a SWAT team to arrive at his home and slam him to the ground, hospitalizing him for days.
Thomas Smith’s family is outraged, saying their relative is unable to physically speak, so he had to resort to pushing buttons on the telephone to communicate with the dispatcher.
And somehow, the dispatcher understood he was being held hostage by a man with guns and explosives, which is why Oneida County sheriff’s officials say they were only trying to keep the neighborhood safe.
Plus, they added, he was not following directions, so he had to be “de-centralized,” which apparently is the police version of “re-accommodated,” the term used by United Airlines to describe how they have passengers yanked from their seats and dragged down the aisle to make room for airline employees.
But Smith’s family is not buying it.
“When a person cannot communicate, and he’s short of breath, you’re going to press every button on the phone to get help,” said Alan.The dispatch call ended abruptly. So when Smith exited his home, the Oneida County Special Response team detained him.The family says Smith was treated roughly.“He did say he was forced down, he was slammed to the ground,” said Alan.Hook says Smith was not following directions, so Smith was then “decentralized.”“We acted on the information that we had,” Hook said. “We couldn’t have acted any other way.”“We needed to keep the community safe as well as our officers safe, and we just did the best we could with the information that we had,” said Hook.
Smith is currently in the hospital receiving the medical care he needed in addition to the care he needed after he was body slammed.
Captain Hook suggests citizens with medical issues make prior arrangements with the sheriff’s office to inform them of their condition in order to prevent deputies from confusing them with armed kidnappers, according to WSAU.