Egg Harbor Township, NJ — Christopher Kiraly and his friend were on their way to dinner last month when they were harassed, assaulted, and arrested by police, for absolutely no reason. Kiraly, who is a diagnosed epileptic, went into a seizure during the stop and instead of giving him help, two Egg Harbor Township police officers beat and arrested him. The entire rights-violating debacle was captured on Kiraly’s cell phone.
In an exclusive interview with the Free Thought Project, Kiraly explained how he and his friend had just pulled into the parking lot at the Golden Corral buffet to eat dinner when officer McKenney began harassing him.
As the video shows, the officer claims he approached them because Kiraly “ashed out of the window.”
“I have to get out of the car for ashing out of the window?” Kiraly asks.
“I want to talk to you about it, yeah,” replies officer McKenney.
“I want to speak to your sergeant,” says Kiraly, clearly disturbed by the fact that this officer is attempting to deprive him of his rights for no legal reason whatsoever. “I am scared, I want to speak to a sergeant.”
Kiraly’s fears would soon come to fruition as the cop begins to threaten him with arrest for not getting out of the car.
“You want me to get out of the car for what? What are you going to arrest me for?” asks Kiraly.
“You have to get out of the car,” the officer says. “I am going to talk to you about it back here.”
The officer then goes from saying “I am not going to arrest anyone,” to “You are under arrest.”
“What am I under arrest for?” asks Kiraly.
“You are under arrest,” the officer repeats without giving any reason—because there was not one.
The fact that he had no reason to arrest Kiraly was of no concern to the officer, who was then accompanied by backup.
The officer then begins making up charges, claiming that he saw Kiraly ash out of the window and he refused to provide ID.
It is important to note that 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39 – MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATION Section 39:4-64 – Highway littering ban specifically denotes “ashes” as litter. However, this officer never attempted to cite Kiraly at all and never told him that this was the reason he wanted him to step out of the vehicle.
It is also important to note that ashing out of a vehicle is not an arrestable offense.
Regardless of all these facts, the officer still moved in to assault and arrest Kiraly.
“You’re under arrest,” the officer says once more without giving a reason.
“For what?” asks Kiraly once more.
“Because you’re under arrest,” says McKenney.
As the officer pulls Kiraly from the vehicle, Kiraly is entirely compliant. He tells the officers that he is epileptic and the lights and stress may give him a seizure. However, the officers ignore him and persist.
Eventually, Kiraly begins having a seizure, which police appear to perceive as “resisting” in spite of the fact that Kiraly’s eyes are rolling back in his head.
Instead of helping him with his seizure, the officers proceed to smash Kiraly’s face into the car, causing him further injury, before choking him and throwing him to the ground.
When his friend tells the officers that Kiraly is having a seizure, they couldn’t have cared less.
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2012. It’s a known fact lights trigger my seizures and also stress. I’m on every seizure med there ever was,” Kiraly tells TFTP. “I went into seizure mode and instead of helping me, he smashed my head off a car and then choked me.”
After the video cuts out, the pair was arrested and told after the fact that the officer suspected the driver of DUI, which he claims was the reason for the stop—despite the fact that he approached the passenger first.
For doing absolutely nothing wrong, Kiraly was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstruction. Since the driver was not DUI, they arrested her for resisting arrest and obstruction as well.
Sadly, as TFTP has reported, police attacking epileptics no isolated incident, others have had similar stories across the country. In Reno last year, James O’Doan was arrested after he had a seizure and charged with resisting arrest. Andrea Nicole Hansen says she was arrested in Pismo Beach, California, for resisting arrest and public intoxication after having an epileptic seizure.
Also, as TFTP reported last year, Taharqa Dean, who suffers from debilitating seizures as he copes with his epilepsy, had a seizure. Dean fell unconscious during this seizure and a passerby called 911 for help. While officers were originally helpful during the initial approach, when Dead got up to walk away, the officers’ only tool — violence — was escalated and just like Knox, Dean was beaten to a pulp for having a seizure.