Written by Jeff Meyer on 20 Jan 2016
In a troubling case that has garnered immediate and lingering national attention, a criminal abuse case emanating from Pontiac, Michigan exposed the public to an incident of two individuals robbing a cerebral palsy patient of a mobile phone.
Using the words “cowardly” to describe the otherwise inexplicable actions alerted to the Sheriff’s office in Oakland County, officials confirmed that two recent arrestees were in custody in relation to charges of attempted robbery, robbery, assault, and other criminal charges stemming from their victimization of an individual struggling with cerebral palsy.
The most disturbing, however, is the fact that the two young men elected to not only perpetrate such a heinous crime on a visibly vulnerable adult, but in addition, used a cellphone to record the criminal conduct, then posted the video to the victim’s Facebook page a mean to humiliate and intimidate the already victimized, twenty-three-year-old cerebral palsy patient.
Cerebral palsy, which covers a multitude of physical, cognitive, and social difficulties in patients beginning shortly after birth, is thought by the medical community to stem from acute acquired brain damage due to a hypoxic or anoxic event prepartum, peripartum, or post-partum in the birth process in certain circumstances. Given the relatively underdeveloped lung capacity of neonates, ephemeral loss of oxygen-rich blood flow to the infant’s brain is ultimately believed to cause the impairments manifesting as the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Most notably, however, is the fact that cerebral palsy patients in nearly half of cases require a wheelchair device, and in virtually no case would a cerebral palsy patient be considered anything but a vulnerable individual in any reasonable person standards applied to any realistic context.
Yet, according to investigators and the victim, both Shadeed D. Bey and Nikey D. Walker executed the following criminal event in the staircase of the cerebral palsy patient’s dwelling complex, including:
- Facing two attackers, while also suffering a lifelong condition in which impair motor control and limited physical coordination are primary symptoms serving as the basis for a later diagnosis of cerebral palsy, the incident began and occurred as Frankie Santana, the victim, lacked even basic defensive movement skills to fend off the blows of the two, twenty-year-old attackers
- Santana, and the video of the attack that was later released to the public by police officials describe a scene of continual blows to the face of Santana, which according to himself causing no fractures, but did result in ocular discomfort.
- The attack appeared predicated on infliction of humiliation and harm, although a cellphone stolen from Santana was shortly after found by police investigators at the residences of one of the suspects
- Santana himself was also incredulous at the brazenness of posting a multi-felony criminal act on Facebook while questioning whether the alleged attackers intended to facilitate a swift apprehension alongside their prolonged attempts to humiliate himself privately and then publicly
- To date, both suspects now face charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm short of murder and remain incarcerated in lieu of $25,000 dollar bonds for each, while pending trial on December 8th.
- The cause of the incident remains ambiguous with Santana indicating to media outlets that he had perhaps seen one of the individuals attempting to burgle his residence previously
Cerebral Palsy Patients Are Owed an Exemplary Duty of Care Due to Their Medical State
In any case of suspected abuse or mistreatment of a cerebral palsy patient, individuals are legally responsible to report these incidents to the appropriate state or federal officials, if not private legal counsel. Due to their vulnerable person designation in most instances, cerebral palsy patients are afforded additional protections under the law, including the duty owed by all other able-bodied individuals to ensure their immediate physical safety, psychological, and medical needs.