There's a right way and a wrong way to helping someone who is in diabetic shock.
An elderly man who claims two San Antonio policemen beat him while he was having a diabetic episode filed an excessive force lawsuit in federal court this week against the city and the officers.
Thomas Mathieu alleges that on January 13, 2014 — after leaving the hospital where his wife just had a surgery — he was driving home by himself when he pulled over to the side of the road at Evers and 410 because he started feeling ill.
Mathieu, who was 70 at the time
, was suffering from extremely low blood sugar. With his hands on the wheels and the doors unlocked, he lost consciousness, according to the lawsuit.
That's when officers Juan Campacos and Patrick Thomas arrived at the scene.
Campacos "approached Mr. Mathieu's vehicle and opened the unlocked door, and without asking what was wrong told Mr. Mathieu to get our or he is going to pull him out," the lawsuit alleges.
Mathieu, who was "confused" and "not thinking clearly" because of low blood sugar pulled away and Thomas joined in to help Campacos extract the sick man from his vehicle, according to the lawsuit.
"Campacos began punching Mr. Mathieu in the face repeatedly," the lawsuit alleges.
Eventually, the police officers get the man out of the car and allegedly slam him face first into the ground. When Mathieu rolls over, Campacos allegedly begins striking him again.
When Mathieu is handcuffed, the officers start asking him how much he had to drink, according to the lawsuit, which states Mathieu repeatedly told them he hadn't been drinking.
After looking in his car and finding the driver's license, they realize Mathieu is a diabetic and call EMS, according to the lawsuit.
"At all times Mr. Mathieu, an elderly diabetic man was having a diabetic episode during the incident," the lawsuit states.
Mathieu sustained trauma to his chest, abdomen and shoulder; swelling, bruises and lacerations to his head, back, chest and extremities; and two broken ribs, according to the lawsuit.
Last year, he told News 4 San Antonio
that he doesn't fully remember what happened, but he remembered waking up in police custody with his face on the ground.
According to News 4's story, a police report said the officer thought Mathieu was reaching for the stick to drive off and feared the vehicle might injure him and others.