Complaint: Paralyzed Man Beaten by Phoenix Cops After Officers Say He Ran From Police

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A Phoenix man who claims polio caused severe paralysis on one side of his body is suing the Phoenix Police Department because three officers severely beat him after they claimed he ran from them.

In a complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Refugio Rodriquez says the officers' claim that he ran from police is impossible because of his paralysis.

"He walks with a cane," his attorney, Jimmy Borunda, tells New Times, "but they still beat him up pretty bad."

According to the complaint, Rodriquez was in a church parking lot when he was approached by the three officers.

"It was late at night, and they said they thought he was damaging the building," Borunda says.

When they approached him, Rodriguez claims the officers said, "You better not run, you fucking wetback." They then slammed him onto the concrete driveway "in a manner which obviously exceeded the minimal amount of force necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose and continued to brutally assault plaintiff Refugio in the driveway," the complaint states.

The officers then hit Rodriquez with a Taser and beat him "with their police-issued long flashlights."

Rodriquez was taken to the Maryvale Precinct, where he claims one of the officers asked him "what's the matter, you can't take an ass-whipping?"

Rodriguez was then taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail, where an intake nurse told him she was going to have him taken by ambulance to the hospital because of the severity of his injuries. However, Rodriquez claims, the nurse came back a few minutes later and told him "if she sent him to the hospital emergency, she was told she would lose her job."

After he was released on bail, Rodriquez was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where the emergency doctor told him he "could have died because a blood clot near his brain was beginning to develop,"

The problem with Rodriquez's lawsuit, his attorney points out, is that he already pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, which  definitely will be brought up should the case go to trial.

"He only pled to [assaulting an officer] so he could get out of jail," Borunda claims.

Rodriguez is seeking punitive damages and medical expenses for alleged assault, battery, negligence, and civil rights violations. The city of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services, and the three Phoenix police officers are all named as defendants in the suit.

The Phoenix Police Department did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

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90 comments
Chicosmama
Chicosmama

Really now!! Before some of you start passing judgement on this man, I really wish you could have seen the pictures of his injuries substained from this beating.  This man IS severely disabled, and there is NO WAY that he can run from anyone.  The beating that he received is completely unwarranted!!  The fact that the jail refused him medical treatment is inhumane in itself.  And not to mention, he is not a "wetback" as he was called.  He is a US citizen, born and raised right here in Arizona.  Are the cops trying to say that just because of the color of his skin, that automatically makes him an illegal citizen?  I don't care what anyone says. Normally, I would always defend the police department, but not in this case.  Yes, I do know this man.  I do know how severely disabled he is,  And I did see his injuries first hand.  Not just the pictures. I saw them with my own eyes and NO ONE deserves to be beaten as badly as he was, especially from a department that takes an oath to protect and serve, and that we are supposebly taught that we can always trust. 

azcjas
azcjas

AZCJAS

We where the very first organization to assist Mr. Rodriguez. We have the police case file, the court file, and photos. His Public Defender attorney did not want to take this case to criminal trial, so bail was not an option if trial is not being offered.  Because of his family medical problems, he was better off getting out of jail on a plea, then staying in jail and going to trial.  To make bail you need money and collateral, which he has neither.  We have not received any State or Federal grants to help pay for such clients.  We offer legal help to the low-income and homeless, at no cost, or at a discount if they can afford making payments.  We handle most criminal, traffic, family, collection, personal injury, criminal history cleanup, and much more.  We are still active on this case.

C-JAS / Community Justice Assistance Services / Legal Aid

Phoenix, Arizona

623 8784100

Ted
Ted

Goddamn pigs, I had my run in with them getting off a flight from San Francisco sick as a dog, but they were sure I was high. I was harassed for three hours at Sky Harbor then hauled downtown where I was held for court in the morning. I was a couple days past my eighteenth birthday and had never had a run in with police before. Stupidly I followed the advice of the booking cops and pleaded guilty to vagrancy. I was sent back to the jail at the airport where I was put in the rabbit tank with previous runners to serve my five day sentence. Once the pigs get you and steal all your property, you never trust one of the bastards again. Five days, sick with mono sweating on a thin mattress on the floor. And they stole all my books, my entire library. Sue the shit out of the worthless scum!

Krautkontrol
Krautkontrol

Just a quick question: Since so much emphasis is being put here on the fact that Mr. Rodriquez was a partially paralyzed Polio sufferer, am I supposed to take this as an indication that both author and readers think that a beating, sever enough to cause a nurse to want to call for an ambulance and and a Doctor diagnosing a forming blood clod, would be justified if it had been perpetrated on an able-bodied man?

Besides that though, I have to say that Mr. Rodriguez story is slightly unbelievable. First off, bail does not depend on your plea. Second, I seriously doubt that the nurse would have told the man about the threat, if they were actually made.

Pircs
Pircs

Mr. Borunda- our office is located at 3210 NW Grand Ave Ste 16 (bottom floor of the Dream Center) My Name Is Thelma Mercedes Yslava we wish to consult with you and possible send potential clients who would be in need of your services pls contact me at 623 755 6919 PIRCS we are a community resource services. (Great Job to hear You are out there for the less fortunate)

MWC
MWC

Maxonepercent you need to shut up because either your a cop or related to one. If you see a disabled person getting stomped out by three cops, your dumb ass gonna stand there and say its deserved? If your a real man, you wouldn't defend 3 men beating down on one man anyway. Your a punk, and personally knowing how ridiculous police can be, beating on persons WITH NO RECORD, I believe that three cops should beat your ass senseless.

ernie lopez
ernie lopez

another racist with shit for brains, its no wonder we are in the trouble.

Rickrolled
Rickrolled

I like how everyone that writes a comment automatically believe that everything in this article is fact. Like its not possible for the guy to be lying about what actually occured so that he could win a lawsuit. If he plead guilty to aggravated assault than he his probably guilty. They will release you from jail regardless if you plead guilty or not, and he would have been free until after his sentencing. I cant believe that this guy wasted his time writing an article about this garbage. 

2bheard
2bheard

OK this is how it reads to me, sorry ass man with an excuse to be on AHCCCS is out roaming the streets late night, cops approch him, he assults a cop and they fight back. Gee does the cops get a thank you for fighting back? Why is it the cops are always wrong and the "bad guys" get "poor guy"?Guy had it coming!!!

NorthAdamsReruns
NorthAdamsReruns

Man, Refugio's story is dwarfed by your peril, Ted. And for them to steal your entire library. That sucks. If they took my comic books I'd be pissed too and would sue!

Drive next time. And tell a better story. Yours should have been in "CourtHouseNews" years ago.

K. Dani Davis
K. Dani Davis

You will say anything if you think the cops are going to kill you.

Maxonepercent
Maxonepercent

Trying to drum up frivolous lawsuits and get some of those good tax-payer money via a NT message board?  How fucking stupid can you be?  Ever heard of google you dumbshit?  Why don't you try googling the lawyer and calling him?  Idiot

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

I am not a cop nor related to one on any level imaginable, in fact as I have stated earlier I have actually been in jail before so I understand the general frustration people have with cops.  But here is a general rule that will save anyone from getting "beaten" by the cops: DON"T RESIST ARREST!  It is simple logic really, you can't win and as soon as you try you are opening yourself up to get physcially restraine which can be painful, plus on top of it all you get charged with a felony! 

" If you see a disabled person getting stomped out by three cops, your dumb ass gonna stand there and say its deserved?"

I never said anything like that, I think you might need to work on your reading comprehension skills.  What I said is that he was never "beaten" in the first place, I am saying the whole thing is a lie.  Why?  Because he has absolutely no proof he was ever injured, he has no medical record to prove he was treated for injury he has no witnesses agreeing with his side of the story.  On top of that he is a convicted felon, which automatically makes me distrust him.  On the other hand 4 police were involved, non of whom has a record of this kind of abuse in the past.  If society is going to start believing the word of one ex-con suing for millions with no corroborating evidence over that 4 law-abiding law-enforcement officers than we are all doomed.  A great thinker once said: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof".  There is no proof whatsoever that what this man says is even remotely true.

"I believe that three cops should beat your ass senseless"

Ah, threats of violence, the last refuge of the terminally stupid.  Let me paraphrase what you just said right there: "ummm I am too mentally-challenged to come up with a rational argument against yours so I am just going to wish violence upon you to prove my point".  Cops are never going to beat on me because I will never put myself in that position.  As I stated before, I have learned that once you are approached by a cop your only recourse is to follow instructions, be civil. keep your mouth shut and get a lawyer as soon as possible.  In fact, this is the exact same advice you will get from any lawyer if you solicit it.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

You are 100% correct, this Refugio Rodriguez character is a racist with shit for brains.  He thinks he can win millions of dollars just by playing the race card even though he has absolutely no proof that what he said happened actually did happen.  How much dumber can you get?

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

Wow how enlightening! The exact verbatim information as the original story, great work sherlock!

teknik1200
teknik1200

if he didn't plead he would have died in the  jail?

could you imagine the fear you would have if you were picked up on the side of the street and beat down for no reason, then hauled off to jail.  the entire time being punished by LEO?   

what is outrageous is that things like this happen in America, and the "religious" "moral" "conservatives" cheer on the thug cops.

I hope they take you away, since you wish this on those of us you simple don't agree with.

Dhuiz
Dhuiz

How much damage could he do to one of the officers? If he is only 5'5" and 140 pounds and crippled, how much of a threat could he be? After all, the cops have guns, clubs, big flashlights and tasers. Too bad they can't keep a little guy off of them with a shove. I'm a short senior citisen and could probably hold my own with the poor guy.

Guest23
Guest23

Where are the cameras on the cop cars when you need them. It seems like it is time for cops to wear head mounted video equipment to record everything they do, and cops shouldn't have a probllem with this if they are acting legally. And don't give me any crap that leos can't afford it... such documentation I am sure would curtail expensive lawsuits that would pay for it ten times over.

Guest23
Guest23

It is not true that they will release you guilty or not. You have to come up with bail money and in this economy my savings are drained, I don't own a house and I am still making payments on my car, so I would be stuck in tent city until the trial date and could possibly catch a life threatening disease, get jumped and beat, killed or raped by gangbangers or any lone nut case... all this even if I was innocent and there is no avoiding it unless I am rich and can afford a lawyer. Then you have to fight the issue of idiots thinking you are automatically guilty because the cops say so. I don't feel like I live in a free country anymore and would gladly move to canada or europe, but trying to get a lonterm visa or citizenship is very difficult unless you are sponsored by family or a business, who doesn't want such added expenses.

Dhuiz
Dhuiz

Three trained officers with weapons on one cripple. Sounds like a fair fight to me. How a bout you?

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

He assaults three cops with a case of polio?   Even if he could it's no excuse to beat someone nearly to death.    They're trained how to handle one person with a cane and it's not to beat the suspect.    Three cops can't disarm one person with a cane?    Go to the academy and find out how it's done instead of flapping your ignorant lips.     Jack ass ignorant coward.

svivar9087
svivar9087

I don't know, -1 Max... WHAT IF, it's a message that maybe, stuff like this is no longer going to be tolerated, seem like a possibility.  But again that would require having a little imagination, which in your case is limited by your rosy disposition =D 

teknik1200
teknik1200

so the guy who got beat up for being a mexican out at night is a racist?   

are you snickering to yourself because the crippled man got a beat down?

these police officers belong in jail.  they do not protect us.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Not at all. This is the actual complaint filed with the court. Nice try, douchenozzle. 

Maxonepercent
Maxonepercent

Point out where I said that I wish this upon anyone that disagrees with me, I dare you.  I never said any such thing at any time.  What I said is that this guy's story is totally unsubstantiated, that he is a convicted felon, that the police's side of the story is not told in the article, and that anyone who takes the word of a convicted felon and a money-grubbing lawyer without any corroborating proof is either an idiot or cop-hater.  Moreover, I am not "conservative" or "religious", actually I voted for Obama (big mistake)!  Lastly, I want to point out your hypocrisy when you wish violence upon me when all I have done is made rational arguments against the untrustworthy felon who filed this lawsuit.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

Why are you so quick to believe that his story is truthful in any way?  This guy is a lifetime criminal, he has zero credibility.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

g23, Well said. This is a serious situation for the people. Police has put their fellow officers at risk with this kind of conduct which continues to inflame the public. Police waste their time of the vulnerable rather then going after the truly dangerous criminals that are around the valley. Easy arrest reports, easy convictions, hot media stories -- all combined have put innocent people at great risk for great harm. You describe the jail situation well -- that IS what people will face getting thrown into the criminal justice system with something as simple as a DUI coming out of your neighborhood restaurant or club. They're out there scanning the parking lots in Scottsdale with incentives to get "customers".

Dhuiz
Dhuiz

Guest23

You would not got to tent city until you either took a plea bargain or got sentenced to some time. You would be locked up in one of the ratty jails at the mercy of everyone else and treated like you were a dangerous criminal and guilty of the worst crime. After all as everyone knows, you are guilty until proven innocent. That is according to AZ law. Also if you tell any one you have been in jail, they assumed you did something wrong. After all, you must be guilty or they wouldn't arrest you. Right?

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

You continue to display your ignorance for all to see.  Tent city is only for those inmates who are serving time for a conviction, so if you are awaiting your hearing and you haven't been convicted of a crime yet you will not be held in Tent City, but in the county jail downtown or in a local city jail depending on the nature of your crime.  Moreover, unless you have been charged with a serious felony and are considered to be a flight risk you will be released on house arrest after your initial hearing which must take place within 72 hours of arrest.  This is a simple matter of space, they do not have the space available to incarcerate everyone charged with a crime so they resort to house arrest.

If you think things are any better in Canada or Europe I suggest you do some research.  The police there have far more authority to search and arrest people who they suspect of having committed a crime and you can be held in jail for long periods of time without even seeing a judge.  Also, since the cops over there don't carry guns they are quick to resort to the nightstick.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

You are assuming that the guy is telling a story that is even remotely close to the truth.  There is absolutely no corroborating proof that anything this guy says is true.

Mistalee
Mistalee

You are lying again. Refugio Rodriguez is not listed on Arizona's sex offender registry, and he would be if he were a convicted sex offender living in Arizona.

Anyone can verify that by doing the search here - http://www.azdps.gov/Services/...

Suck on it, you lying troll. 

Mistalee
Mistalee

"It wouldn't matter if this guy was white, black, asian or martian, he is still a liar and he will still lose his case."You've already clearly expressed your opinion that the victim is a racist who is simply expoiting his Hispanic ethnicity for material gain. You lying hypocrite.  

Maxonepercent
Maxonepercent

So it has finally happened, some weak-minded hater has resorted to baseless accusations of racism in a feeble last ditch effort to try and win a long lost argument.  Once again you prove the point that you lack either the rational ability to counter my arguments or you just plain admit that my argument is correct and you are just a sore loser.  There is no proof this man was after abused, plain and simple, no medical report no witnesses.  Moreover he is a convicted felon, a segment of society that is notorious for dishonesty and greed.  It wouldn't matter if this guy was white, black, asian or martian, he is still a liar and he will still lose his case.

Mistalee
Mistalee

 Your a moron stating random shit as factual, when you have no idea.

Are you an eyewitness to the incident? Do you know Refugio Rodriguez personally?

If not, you have no basis for saying he didn't get beat up, and that he is a racist.

I think YOU are a racist and are proof of why siblings shouldn't bear progeny.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

He didn't get beat up, it's a lie.  He is a racist because he thinks he can play up his ethnic status to squeeze millions out of the taxpayers even though he has no proof that what he says happened actually did happen.  Also, our society is built around the concept that a person (even a cop) is innocent until proven guilty.  These cops have never been convicted of any crime.  Refugio Rodriguez, on the other hand, has been convicted.  So who is really the innocent one here?

Mistalee
Mistalee

"The operative word there is "immediately" it takes a little while for the police to provide an incident report."

You are really fixated on incident reports.

In this case, it's a red herring, since it was comment that was requested, not an "incident report."

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

"The Phoenix Police Department did not immediately respond to our request for comment." The operative word there is "immediately" it takes a little while for the police to provide an incident report.  Any reputable news organization knows this and holds back on printing the story until the request is complete, of course the NT is NOT a reputable news organization by any stretch of the imagination, more of a propaganda pamphlet for the "rebel without a clue" crowd that is funded largely by ads for prostitutes and other illegal activities.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"The better point is, why isn't the PPD's side of the story representedin this article?  Probably because the NT has no interest in factualreporting."

Or perhaps, just PERHAPS, it's because the PD's side of the story was solicited but they did not respond. As the story states quite clearly. You ignorant fucktard.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

The exact contents of which are repeated verbatim in the above story.  In other words, don't follow the link unless you like reading the exact same information all over again.  The better point is, why isn't the PPD's side of the story represented in this article?  Probably because the NT has no interest in factual reporting.

Mistalee
Mistalee

You said Refugio Rodriguez was a convicted sex offender, and you lied. Your claims that he is a "convicted felon" derive from your false claim that he is a convicted sex offender, and are also lies.

You are as full of shit as an egg is full of egg. 

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

 Police HAVE put their fellow officers at risk with this kind of conduct which continues to inflame the public....

Maxonepercent
Maxonepercent

 Bullshit.  I don't believe a word of this guys story but are you seriously arguing that Arizona is the only place in America where police brutality occurs?  What a rediculous assertion.  If that isn't your point than what is your point?  Just good old-fashioned Arizona bashing I guess.

Anon
Anon

This is America, "the land of the free" which is supposed to be a civilized society. But Arizona does not respect peoples' lives or rights. A society of cruel and inhumane treatment toward "others" (than themselves).

Kevin
Kevin

You are assuming that the cops are telling the truth. There are as many stories of dirty cops as there are dirty citizens.

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