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Disabled NY man to sue after being dragged off bus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – A disabled man who survived being hit by two trains in the early 1990s said he will sue after Syracuse police used a stun gun on him and dragged him off a public transit bus when he refused to sit down.

Brad Hulett, 35, claims two officers used excessive force, leaving him with a broken hip.

A bus security camera video obtained by The Post-Standard of Syracuse (
http://bit.ly/12Idwww) shows the May 3 encounter beginning with Hulett repeatedly asking “For what reason?” when officers tell him to leave the bus. The video shows an officer then shocking Hulett in the back and Hulett yelling “Ow!” before falling as he is pulled out of the bus door.

“You want it again?” an officer yells. “You want it again?”

The officer then drags Hulett across the pavement by his foot. Hulett was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Hulett said he had surgery the next day during which doctors inserted three pins into his hip.

He told the newspaper he needed to stand on the bus while holding onto a pole because a previous back injury made sitting difficult. He said he has two herniated discs in his back from a car accident. He also suffered brain damage when he was struck by two trains, one after the other, at the age of 12. Doctors removed a portion of his brain at the time, leaving him with weakness on his left side and a large dent in his skull.

Hulett said he frequently rides the bus while standing and has never fallen.

“It doesn’t go fast enough to break my grip,” he said.

Last week, Hulett filed notices saying he intends to sue the city, Onondaga County and Centro, the public bus service for the Syracuse area.

Syracuse police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan did not respond to a phone message from The Associated Press on Friday. He declined to comment to The Post-Standard, citing the possible legal action.

Centro spokesman Steve Koegel also would not respond to Hulett’s claims but said bus drivers are trained to assess passenger safety and may request that passengers sit when seats are available.

“The officers say they’re there because it’s a safety issue,” said Hulett’s lawyer, Rick Guy. “We’re going to zap you, who have an apparent neurological condition, with a neurological weapon because we want to prevent you from being harmed by a moving bus.”

Hulett said he plans to sue the county because a nurse at the Justice Center jail failed to diagnose his broken hip and he was made to try to walk through a metal detector. Video from the jail shows him collapsing into a deputy’s arms twice after telling him his left leg was injured and that he could not stand up from his wheelchair.

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Information from: The Post-Standard,
http://www.syracuse.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)