Police review scuffle with elderly man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police review scuffle with elderly man

An internal review is underway after a scuffle with police put a blind, elderly man in the hospital.

The run-in happened at the Memphis Towers Assisted Living Center Friday morning. 81-year-old David Bland spoke from his hospital bed saying it was his TV, not a loud radio that sent police to his door for a disturbance call and adds that this wasn't the only misunderstanding.

Bland says the man who brings his daily meals always jokes that he's the police. This time, however, Bland didn't know he was talking to a real officer.

"He said 'I'm the police.' I said, 'let's get it on then.'" Bland says he realizes why the policeman misunderstood him.

"I meant bring my meal on. That's what I meant," says Bland.

Bland says he reached to shake the meal man's hand, as usual, but he got maced. Disoriented, Bland says he frantically tried to gain his balance.

"I kinda went crazy like. I couldn't see nothing and I never been hit with that stuff before," he said.

The elderly man says arthritis prevented police from cuffing his hands.

"I said 'I can't get that hand back there. When I said that, he hit me again and sprayed me again."

The police report says Bland punched and scratched the police officer drawing blood and that they found a .22 caliber pistol in his pocket with the serial number filed off.

"I figured if somebody attacked me I could flash it on him and scare him away," Bland explained.

For now, Bland is recovering from a broken hand, cuts and bruises.

Police say it took three people to restrain Bland. They can no longer comment now that an internal investigation is underway. However, city and county leaders attended a rally Tuesday night to share information with the other tenants at Memphis Towers. They told the group that results will come out soon from the internal investigation.

"These citizens need to know that our city is taking this incident very seriously. The police director has told me that we're looking into it and it will be investigated," City Councilman Myron Lowery explained.

Bland now faces charges of simple assault and a misdemeanor weapons violation. Police say the officers did their best to not hurt him.

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