Rehoboth Beach, DE — An innocent disabled couple has filed a lawsuit against the Delaware state police for unconscionable horrors inflicted upon them during a fruitless early morning raid.
Ruther Hayes, a disabled veteran, was severely beaten by police officers during the raid as he attempted to give his wife Lisa a sponge bath. Lisa Hayes is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy who was receiving a sponge bath on the bed when multiple officers forced their way into the couple’s bedroom.
When he saw the officers enter the room, Ruther Hayes attempted to cover his naked wife with a sheet. Instead of allowing the man to cover his naked quadriplegic wife, however, police threw him to the ground, tasered him, and punched him repeatedly.
As officers beat the disabled veteran bloody, they screamed at Lisa Hayes to get up, despite being told by every family member in the home that she was unable to walk.
According to Delaware Online,
The DSP raid happened at the Claymont home of Lisa Hayes’s mother around dawn on June 30, 2014. The Hayes family arrived there the day before, intending to stay for two weeks so that their young daughter, Legacy, could attend an ice skating camp each day in Newark.
Just before 6 a.m., the lawsuit says, Ruther and Lisa Hayes were in a back bedroom of the home. Lisa Hayes’s two children and her mother were in the living room when officers burst in through a front door. The three of them were told to sit, and they did, while telling officers repeatedly about Lisa Hayes and her disability.
“You don’t have to keep saying she is disabled. We get it,” one of the officers – the lawsuit refers to them as operators – allegedly responded.
Officers were looking for Joey L. Guy, 30, and Louis H. Scott, 33. Lisa Hayes is their aunt. The search warrant allowed them to search everyone in the home as they looked for drugs, paraphernalia, records of drug transactions, guns and ammunition and cash.
Prior to busting down the door to the bedroom of Ruther and Lisa Hayes, the two men were placed in handcuffs without incident. After being placed in cuffs, both nephews attempted to tell police that their aunt in the back bedroom is physically challenged.
“That’s enough out of you,” yelled an officer, according to the lawsuit.
Officers then busted into the bedroom where Lisa Hayes lay naked on the bed, unable to move. According to the lawsuit, this is what happened next:
• “Mrs. Hayes’ wheelchair was right next to the bed, and right next to the operators, as they pointed their assault rifles at her and screamed at her to stand … Her lower body, which was unclothed, went into spasms and her legs locked open.”
• Ruther Hayes backed up, said he was a disabled veteran and gave the officers a military ID card. He “tried to lay a sheet over Mrs. Hayes in order to cover her,” and at that, operators “grabbed Mr. Hayes’ arms and held him in place… [and] began to punch him repeatedly. Because Mr. Hayes [a disabled veteran] did not immediately fall, an operator said, ‘he must have been well trained.’ ” Cpl. Doughty, the lawsuit says, was one of the officers throwing punches.
• An officer discharged a stun gun on Ruther Hayes’s shoulder, and he fell to the ground, “smashing his nose into the hardwood floor and drawing blood. After the operators had Mr. Hayes on the ground, they continued to punch him,” and stunned him a second time.
• “Mrs. Hayes was lying on the bed, unable to move, while she was forced to listen and watch as the operators beat and tasered her husband. She was scared that they were going to kill him.” Lisa Hayes cried that she was having a heart attack; at that point, officers “stopped beating Mr. Hayes and called for a medic.”
• The whole time the officers were in the bedroom, the lawsuit says, “the nephews were the subjects of the search warrant and both of them were already under [police] control.”
Ruther Hayes, beaten and bloody, was arrested and brought to jail on charges of resisting arrest. The charges would later be dropped.
“I feel not only degraded, humiliated; I feel like they didn’t treat me as a human being,” Hayes said. “I relive that day when they came in on me and them yelling at me to get up when they knew that I couldn’t get up.”
This heavily militarized and violent raid on a family home resulted in a single charge for possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to Delaware Online,
The lawsuit asks a federal judge to award Ruther and Lisa Hayes damages for suffering the effects of excessive force, battery, emotional distress, false arrest, negligence and other alleged counts. The lawsuit also asks the court to compel Delaware State Police to change its policies and training “to avoid further instances of excessive force, improper use of Tasers, discrimination against disabled persons, and other police misconduct.”
Since the raid, Lisa Hayes is unable to enter her family’s home out of fear and her husband’s mental state has worsened, making his schizophrenia more acute.
“When I do go there now, I don’t go in the house,” Lisa Hayes said. “My mom goes to the car to see me.”