Colorado Springs, CO — Colorado Springs Police are in hot water with a possible lawsuit over the brutal beating in July of a 72-year-old man who has Alzheimer’s.
Albert Schmeiler’s mother-in-law, Margot Alvarez, witnessed the attack and said it was absolutely unnecessary for officers to punch, kick, and slam her son-in-law to the ground.
“The minute [CSPD officers] got out of the car, I told them he has Alzheimer’s, he’s confused, he’s hallucinating, he’s 72-years-old,” Alvarez explained to KKTV 11 News.
According to the police report obtained by the outlet, officers were initially responding to a call that Schmeiler was breaking into a house. Though his sister-in-law was renting the property at the time, Schmeiler is the owner.
Schmeiler’s nephew was at home alone inside the house when police answered the call. Two responding officers separated the confused man from his nephew and Alvarez.
According to the Colorado Springs Independent, the officer dealing with Schmeiler didn’t understand the man’s agitation with comments he couldn’t ‘break in’ the house he owned. When the officer attempted to place handcuffs on the man, he allegedly attempted to strike the officer.
The unnamed officer struck back, confused at the aggressive move, punching and kicking Schmeiler in the face and body several times before ultimately “taking a running start” and knocking him to the ground.
The officer’s attack left the 72-year-old unconscious, laying on the ground bleeding out.
Alvarez said Schmeiler suffered multiple brain injuries, cuts, and bruises — and had to spend a week in the intensive care unit. After recovering, Schmeiler was arrested on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest, and taken to jail.
Though the charges were eventually dropped after evaluations by several doctors, the incident has had tragic repercussions for the man.
Schmeiler’s family told KKTV that since the beating, his dementia and Alzheimer’s have worsened. He now also suffers frequent headaches.
Ironically enough, Colorado Springs Police were among several area departments which recently participated in training to handle incidents involving people who may have mental health issues.
“To approach [someone possibly suffering a mental disorder] in a very aggressive way could escalate the situation,” explained Lori Jarvis of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the advocacy group which devised the training session. “There are other ways to talk folks down, to talk them through a mental health or substance abuse emergency.”
That training, unfortunately, came too late for Schmeiler and his family. Their lawsuit seeking an amount reportedly in excess of $100,000 in damages for Schmeiler’s three brain injuries, has not yet been officially filed.