Miami Police Clash with Man with Down Syndrome, Mistook Colostomy Bag for “Threatening Bulge”

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MiamiDade County-  22-year-old Gilberto Powell, who has Down Syndrome and uses a colostomy bag, was walking home at 9pm Saturday night in Richmond Heights, Florida. Powell is black, and from this fact we may assume that what happened to him was perhaps the result of non-black police officers feeling that all African-Americans with Down Syndrome look the same. And they’re really dangerous. The following linked video is from a local Florida TV news station, and shows Powell’s elderly parents in conference with their lawyer, Philip Gold. Powell is quite clearly affected with mental retardation, and speaks with some trouble.

While the officers were cruising around looking for some of the many trouble-makers that populate south Florida, they saw instead Gilberto Powell and perceived a “bulge in his waist.” So they hopped out of their squad car and proceeded to pat the 5’3″, 150-pound man down. He resisted and most likely became frightened, and began to run away. For this act of insubordination—the police claim that he “struck one of the officers in the chest,” which is about silly and equivalent to saying that Powell did not do any striking at all, and was probably flailing—the police officers manhandled Powell to the ground, and gave him an “open-handed slap to the side of the face to subdue him.” In the process his colostomy bag was ripped from his body. The ugly damage the man suffered to his face was either from an open-hand slap of Herculean strength, some additional fisticuffs police will not cop to, or the impact of Powell hitting the street. Police are going with this last explanation.

While Powell was being ground into the pavement as well as his own waste containment bag, his father had come out from his home to protest and inform the police that his son had Down Syndrome. The family and Gold deny that Powell struck the officers.

“He’s a really nice kid, he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Gold said. “Gilberto says he didn’t do anything wrong, he just wanted to go home…My understanding is that the officer that battered my client is working for the force, didn’t get suspended or anything. We would like to speak with the department, sit down with the department and talk about how they can make this better for my client and his family.”

They are not ruling out a lawsuit, and surgery may be required on the victim’s eye. While the specific picture above does not seem to reveal Powell as having quite the generic physical features of those with Down Syndrome, a viewing of the video available will show that there can be no mistaking the man’s condition. For more details, visit [CBS News]


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About Dick Richard

Dick Richard is not my name but I am a credible journalist, nonetheless.The real Dick is a long-dead, heaven-dwelling American revolutionary who may wish he lived in these wonderful harmonious times, just like you and me. I believe in free speech, rational deduction, and the Divine Right of Senators, CEO's, and Intelligence Agencies everywhere.

5 Responses to Miami Police Clash with Man with Down Syndrome, Mistook Colostomy Bag for “Threatening Bulge”

  1. Allyson B. Martin September 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Honestly, this disturbs and saddens me like nothing else. This is the SECOND time these genius South Florida cops have assaulted a mentally handicapped individual. Maybe, if they did a little investigative workout before going all Chris Brown on every person who they perceive to be a threat, they could avoid getting themselves into nightmares like this and hurting INNOCENT people.

  2. Kurt Steinbach, teacher October 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    The article is correct, it is difficult to tell from the photo that this man has Down Syndrome, but less than 5 seconds after the reporters introduction, it was obvious. Please watch the video. These officers ought to be ashamed of themselves. They should be severely disciplined, perhaps even fired. The Florida PD should be begging to make this right, and the family should sue. They have an excellent case. I have worked with people with developmental disabilities. They’re harmless, and are fun to be with and work with, and are some of my best friends. They are eager, but can be easily frightened when confronted with no nonsense, overly demanding, overbearing authority figures who demand shows of fealty that they often do not understand, and therefore cannot successfully give. Not to mention the colostomy bag, which many people are embarrassed to need and are self-conscious bout needing. A man with Down Syndrome can probably not explain it, unless you are patient enough to listen. This kind of situation is why people do not trust the police anymore. It’s why parents no longer teach their children that the policeman is your friend. They’re not anymore, they’re the schoolyard bully who just might shoot you for fun….

  3. dalila October 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    This is sad. He looks exactly like my brother and he is white Hispanic. I guess anyone who has a family member that has it will know. Wow so sad.

  4. Kerem February 15, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    “話說回來 該是準備學習下廚的時候了” You really suprrised me for I think that you should be a person who’s good at making your own dishes, even including desserts. I do love cooking. It’s a planned yet spontaneous process – you never know what you get until the dish is donw. What I hate most is handling all aftermaths (cleaning wok, bowls and plates……)


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