What’s With Missouri Cops Beating Elderly Men?

In November 2014, Missouri police beat Army veteran and cancer survivor, Bill Swan – who was 80-years-old at the time – after he took issue with a Public Works crew trying to dig on his property. Lone Jack’s police chief, William Forbes, said in an official statement that Swan sustained his injuries during a scuffle while police tried to subdue him. Swan’s wife, however, said to KCTV News that she thought her husband’s poor hearing was probably the issue – he wouldn’t have been able to hear police commands.

Swan isn’t the only elderly man Missouri police have beaten in the last few years, although he’s possibly the oldest. Earlier in 2014, Elbert Breshears from Humansville called an ambulance for his wife, who suffers from dementia. Breshears, who was 78 at the time, said police arrived first and were immediately aggressive.

When the ambulance did arrive, Breshears went with his wife to the hospital where he received treatment for his injuries, including stitches in his head.

In January last year, Bob Estep, 68 at the time, was pulled over by a Sparta police officer. The officer didn’t immediately approach Estep’s vehicle after pulling him over, and Estep called 911. While Estep was on the phone with the 911 operator, the officer approached his vehicle, ordered him to get out, then deployed his Taser. The officer claims he pulled Estep over because he suspected he was driving while intoxicated, but a breath alcohol test did not detect any alcohol in his system.

And then in October last year, a police officer beat a 70-year-old man who was suffering a stroke in Marshall, Missouri. James Miller became dizzy and light-headed, lost control of his truck and ran into a house. Sargeant Scott Hendrick, who was off-duty, then arrived on the scene, dragged Miller from his car, slammed him into the ground and pressed his knee into a pre-existing blocked artery on the side of Miller’s neck.

During the ordeal, Miller repeatedly told Hendrick that he believed he was having a stroke, and this was later confirmed by Miller’s doctor. Columbia Police Department did not investigate Hendrick for use of excessive force.