Clifford Johnson has filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and two cops after he was tasered while he was in the middle of a mental health episode.
The incident occurred on Aug. 27, 2017 when police officers were called to Johnson’s neighbor’s home. The neighbor told the officers that Johnson walked out of his house and started yelling in the street. When the officer walked next door to Johnson’s home, they found him sitting on his front porch without a shirt or shoes. They asked him why he had been yelling. Johnson got up and started pacing around the yard and the cops told him to sit down.
Johnson sat back down, but he started yelling about a loud party across the street and began jabbing his finger at the officer. After Johnson got up again, one of the officers pulled out a taser and trained its red light on him. Johnson jumped to his feet and continued yelling. When he sat back down, the officer fired the taser, causing Johnson to fall to the ground.
Johnson accused the two officers of mishandling what he referred to as a “full-blown bipolar episode.” He says the incident caused “a severe mental breakdown, which required hospitalization for approximately 10 days and then a prolonged period of outpatient treatment and recovery.”
“Due to the Officers’ continued presence on his property, the flashing emergency lights, the recent police shooting, and Mr. Johnson’s mental illness, Mr. Johnson’s mental state continued to escalate and he started exhibiting verbal outbursts of yelling,” states the lawsuit. “However, Mr. Johnson did not engage in any physical threats or aggression towards the Officers.”
During an interview last week, Johnston said that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the symptoms are sometimes brought on by flashing lights after a traumatic childhood episode in which his family’s house caught on fire.
Johnson said that he shouldn’t have behaved that way toward the officers, but they should have dealt with the situation better.
“Nobody believes me: there’s no way that you could be sitting on my steps, doing nothing and they tased me, you must’ve been doing something, acting crazy,” he said.