It Took 52 Brave Cops To Kill Him

Carl D. Johnson was an architect. He wasn’t a gang member or street tough. He didn’t have a long rap sheet of violence or drugs. He was an architect.  And a diabetic.  And a guy coming him from a bible study class on I-795 in Baltimore.  Now he’s dead.

Per Courthouse News, his wife, Linda, filed suit:

Johnson suffered a diabetic attack sometime after 8:15 p.m. that night, after calling a friend to tell him he was leaving his Bible class, according to the complaint in Baltimore County Court.

He suffered a diabetic attack, crashed on the I-795, and his car came to rest against the guardrail in the median near the merger with I-695.

According to the complaint, when State Trooper Davon Parker arrived and tapped on the window, and Johnson managed to lower the window, Parker pepper sprayed him in the face.

Johnson then got out of his car and Parker clubbed him at least once in the knee. Defendant Officer Loss (fnu) then arrived and whacked Johnson at least twice with his club, the complaint states.

Baltimore County Police Officer Nicholas Wolferman then arrived, whacked Johnson “at least three times” with his own baton, then he and Officer Loss “grabbed Mr. Johnson and threw him over the guardrail,” Johnson’s widow says.

Inexplicably horrible stuff.  It’s possible, of course, that Johnson did something to rile the officer, who perhaps mistook his diabetic shock for insolence.  Maybe he didn’t comply with whatever speed the officer deemed necessary.  Some cops get annoyed with such behavior.

And so there was more:

Nonetheless, after throwing him over the guardrail, the cops applied pressure points to his ears and armpits, she says. Three more cops arrived, including Baltimore County Officer Andrew O’Neill, who Tasered Johnson twice. Officer Loss then punched him in the face and the six officers managed to handcuff him, the widow says.

Eight more cops arrived, and someone took his wallet, which included a medical alert card about his diabetes. Nonetheless, the cops forcibly held him down, though he was not resisting, and was handcuffed, his wife says.

The widow claims Johnson was Tasered at least three times, while he was lying on his back, helpless, surrounded by police. He became “motionless and speechless” and was pronounced dead within an hour of cardiac arrest.

And Carl D. Johnson, architect, was dead.

“Upon information and belief, there were approximately 52 individuals that responded to the scene,” according to the complaint.

All because of a diabetic on his way home from a bible study class.

A funny thing happens once one police officer decides to use force against a person, whether deserved or not, whether necessary or not.  Once one cop turns violent, others feel compelled to join in. Whether it’s a kick, a punch or a taser, they have to prove themselves by adding a lick to the fight.

It’s not very difficult to imagine that the first officer, Davon Parker, misapprehended Johnson’s diabetic shock for contempt of cop.  He commanded, and Johnson didn’t react the way Parker demanded, so Parker needed to show him who’s boss.  That’s how cops roll.

But the 51 others? Was there not one person among them who thought to himself, we’re going to kill this guy?  Was there not one law enforcement officer who said aloud, our job isn’t to make sure one more man doesn’t make it home tonight?  Another punch. Another kick. A pepper spraying and a tasing.  What a tough bunch of cops, protecting society from an architect in diabetic shock, one after another, after another.

So Carl D. Johnson is dead, and it took 52 cops to kill him.  They must be so very proud of their fine police work, all 52 of them. How brave they are.

H/T Turley

35 comments on “It Took 52 Brave Cops To Kill Him

  1. Steve Magas

    similar case percolating here in Cincinnati – diabetic guy coming home from his job at a marketing firm – blood sugar drops, cops suspect drunk driving…From the news story

    “…Deputies broke the window of Harmon’s SUV, shocked him seven times with a Taser, cut him out of his seatbelt and wrestled him to the ground, severely dislocating his elbow, and causing trauma to his shoulder and thumb.

    The deputies’ actions prompted a state highway patrol trooper to pull one deputy away from Harmon because he was so concerned about how Harmon was being treated. That trooper alerted his bosses to the deputies’ actions…”

    VERY rare for cops from LEO #2 to pull cops from LEO#1 away from a good thwacking…

  2. SHG

    And there have been similar cases in the past (and the subject of posts here), but everyone always appreciates hearing about what’s going on in Cincinnati.  Because, well, it’s in Ohio, and who doesn’t wonder about Ohio? 

  3. Frank

    As a diabetic myself, this is one of my special nightmares, right after being perp-walked from a restaurant for felony insulin use and left to die in a holding cell.

    I’ve learned from personal experience and “clandestine drug lab awareness” training from the NYSP that diabetics are junkies until proven otherwise. When a LEO asked if you’re a Type 3 or Type 4 diabetic, he’s really saying “stop lying to me, meth-head.”

    I’m not enamoured with the “war on drugs” and this is one of a great many reasons why.

  4. Marc R

    In PB County, FL there’s been 4 shootings in the last 2 weeks killing 3 people. One was by an undercover cop illegally parked in front of a family business. The owner’s son pulled up next to the car, inquiring why somebody was sitting in a running car. The cop, who’s back on duty, said the man lunged at him and threatened to choke him.

    Then 2 nights ago, a guy who had a gun on him pursuant to a ccw permit, didn’t pull the gun during a fight. After the officers threw the gun from his waistband onto the street, another cop walked up behind him shooting him point blank in the heart.

    It’s obvious that if the police think they can remotely justify a kill, then they go for that over tasering and punching.

    I have a 1983 case coming up where the facts are equally grotesque and I feel myself emotionally getting close to the client just out of a sense of fear that the police are out of control.

  5. Marc R

    My father suffered a recent heart attack and is a diabetic. I don’t think he could ever survive a regular arrest much less one pursuant to “contempt of cop.” He’s never committed anything beyond a parking ticket, but you never know when you’ll get pulled over and the cop is in a bad mood. It reminds me of riding the trains in the former Soviet Republic when military boarding trains and demanded money and gifts for further travel.

  6. SHG

    There never seems to be a shortage of very bad stories.  But we tell one at a time or they just blend and mean nothing.  There are too many to tell them all. It shouldn’t be this way but it is.

  7. SHG

    Diabetic. Deaf. Learning disabled. Foreign language speaking. Breathing. The list of reasons why people end up dead never ends. Only after they kill someone do they realize that it was a tragedy, but at least it was only an isolated incident.  Or sometimes, they never realize it.

  8. SHG

    Yes. You’re new here. The “isolated incidents” line is something of a perverse joke here.

  9. Thomas R. Griffith

    Sir, any and all cities that deploys or allows 52 sworn officers to converge on a single car accident should be physically shut down by the D.O.J. & temporarily operated by the F.B.I. I wonder how many dash cams caught it before they threw him out of sight and how many aimed away.

    This is truly a WTF? moment and another sickening lesson for diabetics and those prone to seizures. Due to medical cards in wallets, necklaces and bracelets all proving to be useless and short of having a capital D tattooed on one’s forehead, what can the Medical & Pharmaceutical Industries initiate ‘Today’ that’ll assist LEO’s in distinguishing the difference? Then again, had the “architect” been just another non complying drunk, what can the alcohol industry do to assist its customers get from the bar stool to the sofa alive? Thanks.

    *If I get rich off the idea of a rear view mirror hanger or special license plate design for the Medically Challenged, I’ll finally be able to pay my SJ tab. I’ll let you know if I locate deep pocket investors & possibly seek input from the Doctor.


    So, we know the problem, what are we, YOU, going to do about it? How long before we say, BASTA, enough – to these thugs?

  11. SHG

    This is a law blog, not a soap box to vent your anger. If you want to call for revolution, do so elsewhere.

  12. Jill McMahon

    Turning up the cynicism, “isolated” to cops, and a “tragedy” for their career advancement. On a lighter note Scott, every time I read that “That’s right. We bad. Kinda.” header, I smile.

  13. Jesse

    A band of state-sanctioned thugs, 52 taxpayer-funded salaries, 52 pensions, all standing around a dead taxpayer that they just beat coming home from bible study.

    Hopefully people will start to ask themselves whether police actually contribute more to lawlessness than they prevent it.

  14. Frank

    I have a medical alert card in my wallet. I keep it with the cash because I figure that’s the first thing a cop will be looking to steal.

  15. Frank

    When we start seeing taxpayers vote down police levies and millage increases, they will start paying attention.

    When we see 1983 awards funded from pension funds and LEO personal assets, they will get more attention.

    When we see ex-cops leave general population feet first and no inspector’s funeral, they will finally get the message.

    Law enforcement at all levels need to learn that the badge is not a patent of nobility. They are not samauri, and the don’t get to test their swords on the peasants.

  16. mt45

    Anyone have any news articles from the original incident over 2 years ago? It seems odd that this would evade major news coverage if it happened as alleged in the civil complaint.

    I’m sure most readers of this blog wouldn’t take a prosecutor’s criminal information as fact, not sure why you’re so comfortable doing the same with a civil complaint.

  17. SHG

    I haven’t been able to find any contemporaneous articles, but that isn’t surprising under these situations. However, you’re caution is well taken.

  18. Hull

    Even people who live in Cincinnati never wonder about it. I grew up partially in Cincinnati, the Promised Land for many Ohioans. Nice people. Well-educated. Stable. Honest. And practical. Think we lived at No. 1 Happy Street.

  19. SHG

    One thing I do not tolerate is the suggestion that anyone ought to be killed, cops very much included. Seriously, take it down a notch.

  20. Don Thompson

    Who thought we’d live to see the day in America when Springsteen’s “41 Shots” was insufficiently cynical? Time to move to Denmark – and not just for the hash, either.

  21. Marc

    I know those Scandinavian countries are all close together, but wasn’t that Norway, not Denmark?

  22. Lurker

    While I strongly condemn the Utøya massacre, as any sane person, I would like to note that the Norwegian police did not kill the man. In fact, if you look at his photos when he was taken to his “imprisonment hearing” (somewhat akin to indictment and setting of bail), he seemed to be quite unharmed.

    That is: Norwegian police subdued an armed mass killer without causing any visible physical damage to him. In similar vein, the Finnish police arrested the man suspected of killing two people and critically wounding a police officer in the Hyvinkää shooting incident without any violence. (At the time of arrest, the suspect had stopped shooting but was hiding in a forest, with three firearms at his reach.)

    We’ve had a number of very unfortunate massacre incidents in Nordic countries, but here, you will not be killed by police. Nationwide, a Finnish policeman is forced to resort to drawing his service handarm only 3 to 4 times a year (not per policeman but in the Finnish police as a whole). The last time a person was killed by the police was 2009.

  23. JKB

    The flaw in your plan is you have to figure out how to idea of the medical distress in the cops mind before he goes into assault mode over the non-compliance. If it never occurs to him, even a “D” on the forehead won’t alter the perception of intentional challenge. And, as we see from the story, once the first cop decides you need some compliance force applied few arriving to assist challenge that diagnosis or course of treatment.

    It takes a strong will and independent mind to arrive at a compliance force/street instruction scene and think, wait, this guy may just be going into a diabetic coma and we should stop.

  24. John Neff

    According to a BJS report the average number of
    homicides by police of persons in custody was
    41 per month. The report was based on data collected between 2003-2009. A safe assumption
    is the deaths were underreported.

  25. Thomas R. Griffith

    Sir, due to the Commerce secretary (Mr. John Bryson), being cited for crashing into two vehicles during a seizure episode (and living to tell about it) – I’ve forwarded him a link to this Post. All in hopes that he’ll be thankful he survived and consider taking it to the top and ask President Obama to take emergency actions.

    For the hell of it, I also CC Mr. Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. Both are asked to step up to the plate today to prevent any further confusion that leads to beatings and deaths via a nationwide educational campaign aimed at the public as well as the authorities. Others are encouraged to learn about this event and do something positive to prevent it. Thanks.

    Note: In the name of the 500+ deaths attributed to teasers and countless other deaths and beatings due to seizures being handled as simply being drunk or in non-compliance. R.I.P.

  26. John Boanerges Redman

    I don’t have any experience with cops from other parts of the world, just Mexico, US and Canada. Those, friends, are bad. I have experienced arrest a lot in the US as I am a non-violent activist. A blogger with better writing skills than I created Pro Libertate. His name is Will Grigg and covers bad cop stories frequently. I would not be surprised if I did not hear about THIS story from him. I am (still) free of the type of treatment written of here (and by Will). I put that to my past LEO experience and boyish charm. What I can personally attest to is their willingness to lie, to testily about the most mundane things. It is blatant and has occurred with every arrest/trial I have been through. I have had judges lie to me from the bench (“I have had other Quakers in my court before and they have removed their hats when requested.” Didn’t happen and won’t happen)(She even went into not liking the STYLE of hat). My point is, it’s not cops that are the problem, it is copdom. There should not exist such an institution. Judges (them, too) condone it because they are their Praetorian Guard. They have committed so much abuse that they need protection and are frightened to death by them. Cops do it intentionally and the so-called “good cops” rely upon the rep. The ham-sandwich-inditers, too, while we are saving the world. Just sayin’.

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