Diabetic Man, 67, Files Lawsuit Against Long Beach Police Who Confused Insulin Injection for Heroin

A 67-year-old man is suing the City of Long Beach for allegedly being manhandled by multiple officers last year who allegedly thought he was injecting heroin when he was actually injecting insulin, according to a complaint filed last week.

Miguel Angel Llamas was at a friend’s home in North Long Beach the morning of March 11, 2015 when Long Beach police officers “brutally” attacked him, the complaint stated.

Llamas—an insulin-dependent diabetic who requires dialysis treatments—had tubing for dialysis treatments affixed to his arms and was in the middle of injecting his insulin at the time of the alleged attack.

“Defendants attacked Plaintiff, wrongfully believing he was injecting heroin,” the complaint stated. 

Two officers drew their guns on Llamas and grabbed and yanked him by the arms in an “extremely forceful and violent manner,” according to the complaint.

“The unreasonable and unnecessary yanking and pulling of Plaintiff’s arms caused Plaintiff’s medical tubing to become disconnected, causing Plaintiff to suffer severe pain and visible bleeding,” the complaint read. “One of the other defendants then slammed plaintiff up against the wall, causing Plaintiff to strike his head.”

The Long Beach man said he told the officers he was in pain but they never provided or offered to provide him with medical care. They also did not call for a rescue ambulance or other medical personnel for help.

He was allegedly placed in a patrol car for about 15 minutes, but was never charged with any crime.

The complaint did not state why police showed up at the home in the first place.

It also alleges civil rights violations including unreasonable search and seizure, detention and arrest, excessive force and denial of medical care, and an unconstitutional custom, practice or policy by the police department.

The complaint names the city, seven police officers and 10 unknown individuals as defendants. Llamas is being represented by Montebello-based Humberto Guizar and Patrick McIntyre of Beverly Hills.

In an email from the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office, officials said they have not been served and have not reviewed the allegations in the complaint.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.
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