A man suffering from cerebral palsy was acquitted of charges that he obstructed a police officer and resisted arrest in a case the judge called the "saddest story I've ever heard."
David Squier testified in halting speech during his two-hour trial that he was squirted with Mace, handcuffed and thrown on the hood of a patrol car by officers Dec. 18 as his wife, also disabled, looked on in horror from their apartment window.
Squier, 39, said that he tried to tell the officers who responded to a prowler call that he was waiting outside his apartment for a utility repairman, but that they did not understand.
"I said I'm waiting for public service to come fix the meter," he said, struggling to make every word as clear as possible. "People have a hard time understanding me, so I say it over and over."
The two Metropolitan Police officers testified that they noticed a speech impediment but did not know of Squier's condition. They said Squier swore at them and tried to walk away.
Squier admitted swearing at the officers but said he did not know what they meant when they told him he was being arrested for obstructing police.
He said he was not resisting arrest when he was shot with Mace, but lost his balance as officers tried to put handcuffs on behind his back. Squier ended up spending two days in jail.
"I think this is the saddest story I've ever heard," Municipal Judge Gary Lang said.
Attorney Tom Pitaro, who represented Squier for free, called the incident "absolutely senseless" and said he may file a civil suit on Squier's behalf.