Sheriff's Deputies Under Investigation After Mentally Ill Man Hospitalized After Arrest In Compton
A 29-year old man with mental illness was hospitalized after an altercation with sheriff's deputies in a Compton park on Monday night.
Barry Montgomery, whose sister says is a paranoid schizophrenic, was arrested on Monday night when he refused to leave after Enterprise Park had closed. Montgomery may have suffered broken eye socket bones in addition to his back, ribs, and face injuries after he got into a scuffle with at least three sheriff's deputies. Montgomery's attorneys allege "dozens" of deputies were involved in the altercation, according to NBC 4. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is currently conducting an internal investigation.
Montgomery says that the incident began when he was playing basketball on a park court afterhours and was tackled when he failed to leave the park after being asked to by deputies. "They cursed at me first and that's how it got into a fight," said Montgomery. He alleges that the beating continued even after he was arrested, being hit by a flurry of punches, kicks, and batons. Witnesses said that even more deputies arrived after Montgomery had been handcuffed, and they unlocked a park restroom where Montgomery was brought in and the beating continued. Cell phone footage of the incident was shot, but it is too dark to see any detail. One witness said that paramedics weren't allowed to tend to Montgomery by deputies for at least 10 minutes.
Investigators returned to the scene on Friday with metal detectors, in search of evidence. Montgomery's attorneys allege that deputies may have even fired at him in the scuffle.
Montgomery's sister Ty says that her brother's mental illness may have played a role in what set the incident off. "By him being schizophrenic and ignoring the officers, I guess they thought he was ignoring them on purpose. But... it's not on purpose. He doesn't communicate. He's a paranoid schizophrenic," she said.
The initial police report says deputies smelled marijuana and that Montgomery had become combative when confronted by officers. "He tried to punch one of the deputies," said Britta Steinbrenner of the Sheriff's Department. He has since been charged with marijuana possession and resisting arrest.