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Updated 11/10/11 – 5:29 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A 27-year-old Chicago-area man has filed a federal lawsuit against several Chicago police officers and the city, alleging that he was tortured last year during a traffic stop–and stunned with a Taser 11 times.
Josue Tapia, first of all, says police had the wrong man. Officers were looking for a J. Tapia who was wanted on an arrest warrant, but they arrested the wrong man.
As CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley reports, Tapia said Chicago police officers used a Taser 11 times against him, during a traffic stop at 43rd and Paulina in May 2010. He was hospitalized for days. The stun gun left numerous marks on his body, where the Taser’s prongs penetrated his skin.
“It was just a lot of pain everywhere,’ Tapia said. “Every inch of my body was being brutalized with no explanation why.”
Tapia’s wife, Marlyn, was in the car, too.
“I was just screaming and crying and I was telling them ‘Please leave him alone, please leave him alone.’ It just felt like a nightmare.” she said. “They just kept cursing me out.”
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Despite having arrested the wrong man, police charged him with felonies – aggravated battery and resisting arrest.
“Instead of ‘fessing up to the fact that they got the wrong guy, they then make up a story that this young man was literally – after being tased 7 or 8 times – fighting off 6 or 7 police officers,” attorney Dennis Giovannini said.
Last week, Tapia went on trial for those charges, but a jury rejected the allegations and he was acquitted.
“I’m very glad I was found not guilty, first of all,” Tapia said. “That’s a start. That’s a start.”
Tapia has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the police, asking for damages. His lawyers claim the excessive use of the Taser amounted to torture.
“It was case of just Tasering over and over and over and over again, in a horrific way,” attorney Blake Horwitz said. “It literally fried him. It fried his mind. He has great difficulty remembering what transpired while the electricity was passing thru his brain.”
Tapia’s attorneys said the result of the criminal trial proved there was never any reason for police to use a Taser on Tapia once, let alone 11 times.
Tapia says he can’t work or support wife and four kids, due to the physical and mental aftereffects of his encounter with police.
“It was just, like, a lot of pain, everywhere. Every inch of my body was being brutalized,” Josue Tapia said.
The city’s Law Department has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit.