HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An Enfield man has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging police shocked him at least 10 times with a stun gun after he entered the wrong home while sleepwalking.
Christopher Demski, a married father of four who has no previous criminal record, says in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that even after the homeowner told police Demski wasn’t a danger and neighbors yelled for police to stop, officers repeatedly shocked him, beat him with batons and had a dog attack him. He says he suffered a torn Achilles tendon and a concussion.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the town, the police chief and the officers involved.
Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza, reached by telephone Friday, said he cannot comment on the specifics of the lawsuit but that the department has a vastly different version of that night’s events.
“There is only one side of the story being brought forth by these attorneys,” he said. “We obviously have our side of the story. We just don’t comment on it in the newspaper.”
According to the lawsuit, Demski took the prescription sleep aid Ambien on the night of Oct. 10, 2013, and later began sleepwalking in his pajamas down the road toward his parents’ home but, instead, walked into the house next door and the neighbor called police. The neighbor, a long-time acquaintance, later realized who the intruder was and told officers Demski was not a danger, but was disoriented and needed medical attention, according to the lawsuit.
Demski alleges that when he stepped out of the home and began kneeling to comply with an officer’s order, several officers jumped him and attacked him.
“Additionally, numerous neighbors who had gathered at the scene yelled for police to stop using their Tasers on the plaintiff, Christopher Demski, and to pull the canine back, because it was obvious that the plaintiff, whom they knew, posed no danger to anyone and was in extreme pain and seriously injured,” Demski’s attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
Demski alleges an ambulance did not arrive for at least 30 minutes and police kept him in a cruiser for another 20 minutes before allowing him to receive medical attention. He also says that while suffering from his injuries he was released back into police custody prematurely and was left unattended in a holding cell, bleeding and in pain.