Family claims mentally challenged man beaten by deputies

Leo Stallworth Image
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The family of Compton resident Barry Montgomery Jr. says he was beaten by L.A. County sheriff's deputies in July.
The family of Compton resident Barry Montgomery Jr. says he was beaten by L.A. County sheriff's deputies in July.

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a mentally challenged Compton man says he was beaten by L.A. County sheriff's deputies. They say he has the mental capacity of a child and they want to know why it happened. Eyewitness News spoke to the family in an exclusive interview.

"I got pain and aches in my ribs, in my face, my eyes, my head. I've been having headaches lately," said Compton resident Barry Montgomery Jr.

Montgomery, 29, says he suffered the injuries during a heated confrontation with L.A. County sheriff's deputies on July 14 at Enterprise Park, near Compton.

Barry says one minute the deputies were talking to him about leaving the park because it was near 10 p.m., which is closing time. He says moments later they were punching him. Some witnesses recorded the incident with their cellphones.

Denice Montgomery says her son is mentally challenged and could not understand the commands the deputies were telling him, so they beat him.

"He takes a lot of medicine for his mental state," said Denice Montgomery. "He is schizophrenic and he has Tourette syndrome also. Everybody watches out for him, but I never expected for the sheriffs to be the one to beat him like this."

Eyewitness News talked to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, who is investigating the incident.

"The suspect became verbally confrontational and attempted to punch one of the deputies; the deputies struggled with the suspect and took him into custody," said L.A. County Sheriff's Nicole Nishida

Montgomery was charged with resisting arrest. His attorney says he plans to sue the sheriff's department for use of excessive force and is demanding the charges be dropped against Montgomery.

"You could knock Barry over with a feather," said attorney Martin Kaufman. "Barry is a 105 pounds dripping wet, and he is just over about 5' 3". I mean Barry is a little guy. I see an outrageously horrible, inhumane situation."

Montgomery's family says there's no way he could have been a threat to police because they say his has the mental capacity of no more than a 6- or 10-year-old child.

"Everybody in this neighborhood takes care of Barry. They watch over him. He doesn't hurt anybody," said Barry Montgomery Sr. "If it had been reversed and he had seen somebody attacking a child he would run in there and help."

"This is disgraceful. This is totally disgraceful," said neighbor Joe Brown. "He's that harmless. He's like a lamb. How do you beat a guy like that?

Barry Montgomery Jr. is due to be arraigned on the resisting arrest change next month.