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Elderly Man Claims Utah Cops Broke His Prosthetic Arm During Rough Arrest

Arrested for an expired license, Danny Baker says that he told Utah police he couldn’t put his hands behind his back because of his prosthesis. They allegedly forced it into position anyway.

by VICE News
Feb 6 2015, 4:05pm

Photo by Nina Jean/Flickr

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An elderly Colorado resident has sued Utah police for breaking his prosthetic arm and denying him medical attention for hours while he was in extreme pain during what he claims was a "false" arrest.

On January 30, Danny Baker filed a $1.5 million suit in a Utah district court against officers Michael Stowe and Brunnell, whose first name was not stated in the complaint, for damages caused in an arrest last August.

The complaint alleges that police committed unreasonable seizure and excessive force, falsely arrested Baker, and engaged in malicious prosecution.

Baker, who obtained his prosthetic arm after a construction accident in the 1970s, was driving through Utah — which he says he often visits for medial reasons — when the officers stopped his vehicle outside of Heber City because his vehicle had a cracked windshield, according to an account by Courthouse News Service.

Stowe then allegedly ran Baker's Colorado license through a database, and discovered that he had previously owned a Utah license that expired in 1988 after he relocated to Colorado. The officer reportedly told the man that his Colorado license was invalid because he did not have a Utah license, ordered him out of the car, and arrested him for driving on a denied license, failure to stop, expired license, and cracked windshield, the complaint states. (The criminal charges against Baker were later dropped.)

Baker claims that he explained to the officers he had a prosthetic arm and could not put his hands behind his back, as ordered. Stowe allegedly responded by roughly grabbing Baker's left hand and elbow, exerting such force that the prosthesis snapped, according to the complaint.

Despite the disfigured prosthesis and pain Baker was suffering, he claims that the officers denied him medical treatment for hours until he was bailed out by his daughter, who took him to a hospital.

Baker's lawyer did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment on Friday.

Photo via Flickr