The family of a 65 year-old veteran claims that VA police stomped on the veterans head and neck, causing him to suffer a stroke and die several weeks later, a new lawsuit alleges.
On May 25, 2011, Jonathan Montano was waiting several hours to undergo dialysis treatment at the Loma Linda VA facility when he grew frustrated, reports Courthouse News Service.
With an IV still in his arm, Montano made his way towards the hospital exit, saying that he would get treatment at the Long Beach VA facility instead.
Norma Montano, the veteran’s wife of 44 years, left the hospital to retrieve the couple’s car.
But VA police wouldn’t let Montano leave, the lawsuit alleges.
“The summoned VA Police Department police officers then stopped Jonathan Montano from leaving the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, by tackling him to the floor, slamming his head on the floor, and kneeing and stomping on his neck, and otherwise brutalizing and restraining him,” reads the lawsuit, according to Courthouse News.
“This kneeing and stomping on his neck by the VA Police Department police officers caused the dissection of his carotid artery, that resulted in immediate (or very soon thereafter) blood clotting, which resulted in [his] suffering a stroke. Moreover, the brutalization of Jonathan Montano resulted in him suffering other serious physical injuries, and associated physical, mental and emotional pain, suffering and distress.”
When Mrs. Montano came back into the hospital to find her husband, she was told that her husband had suffered a stroke.
But, she claims, hospital staff initially said Montano suffered the stroke after a fall — an “untrue statement,” the suit alleges.
“Later on, one of the nurses at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda took Norma Montano aside, and told her that her husband didn’t fall, but was slammed to the ground by the VA Police, that Norma Montano was being lied to, and that it wasn’t right what the VA Police did to Jonathan Montano,” the suit alleges.
Montano died several weeks after the stroke, on June 11, 2011.
With the lawsuit, the widow Montano and her children are seeking damages for wrongful death, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and negligence, the Courthouse News Service reports.
The suit comes as the Veterans Administration is embroiled in a wide-ranging scandal involving the alleged mistreatment of veterans at hospitals across the country. In those cases, hospitals have allegedly forced veterans to wait longer for treatment by placing them on secret waiting lists.
Montano’s case is not tied to the current scandal, his wife claims. Rather, it is a case of police brutality.