A rural northwest Iowa man who suffers from Parkinson’s disease has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he was brutally pummeled by a SWAT team after a relative made false harassment allegations against him.
The events giving rise to the excessive force lawsuit occurred in August 2012, reports Omaha, Neb. CBS affiliate KMTV.
Instead of speaking with the retaliatory relative, the sheriff’s department in Pottawattamie County, Iowa (pop. 92,913) sent close to a dozen members of its SWAT team to the home of John Hytrek.
Hytrek, 52, was working on a tractor in his driveway when the heavily armed cops jumped out of a van.
He had previously warned the relative, who sports a prior conviction for uttering false statements, to leave his property.
“They ran for me with machine guns,” Hytrek told KMTV. “And I look at them, and I’m like, ‘What?’”
According to the lawsuit, the horde of SWAT members tackled the 52-year-old Parkinson’s sufferer. His face slammed on a tire machine. The police officers punched him in the head at least five times.
“I did not resist them, nothing,” Hytrek told the station. “They could’ve came up to me and asked me what was going on, and they didn’t.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the SWAT team positioned a sniper across the street to monitor the situation in case the quinquagenarian man with a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system tried anything squirrely.
Hytrek suffered serious injuries as a result of the melee — so serious that the SWAT team had to send him to the hospital before he could go to jail. He had a fractured eye socket. He also received a concussion and multiple cuts.
After Hytrek was imprisoned, police had to take him back to the hospital because his injuries would not heal.
In a deposition for the case, an unidentified deputy told Hytrek’s attorney Tom Prickett that Hytrek hadn’t threatened the SWAT team in any way. However, the SWAT team members were concerned that he might brandish the hammer he happened to be holding as a weapon.
Prickett also noted that an EMT on the scene recorded cell phone video showing the SWAT team attacking the 52-year-old man.
Hytrek is seeking payment of his medical bills and other damages.
A judge dismissed the false charges against Hytrek for harassment and assault in November 2012.
The sheriff’s department did not comment on the lawsuit.