A homeless man recently filed a federal lawsuit against Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the tiny Village of Palm Springs Police Department for sending out the SWAT team to dislodge him from his camp, seriously wounding him.
The SWAT team, in full military gear, fired at least two rubber bullets at him at close range, ripping out a chunk of his right ear and reducing his left eye to mush!
“What happened to Mr. Gaydos was outrageous,” said Kevin Anderson, his police liability lawyer. “The behavior of the police officers and deputies at the scene was simply unexplainable.”
Down-on-his-luck Dennis Gaydos claims he was minding his own business in his makeshift camp in the back of a Palm Springs church in March 2007, when he called an assistance agency for food. Gaydos claims he received permission from the pastor to live there.
After Gaydos hung up, however, the agency’s operator called 911 to report Gaydos living in underbrush by the church’s parking lot. Palm Springs Police requested assistance from PBSO, and within minutes, SWAT deputies and cops met at a nearby staging area.
Authorities claim Gaydos wouldn’t come out. And when the lawmen approached him in a “military-like tactical march” with a PBSO helicopter hovering, Gaydos stood up. In one hand, he heldÂ a cell phone, and in the other what authorities claim was a knife.
Two shots were fired with supposedly-safe rubber bullets, and Gaydos was hit both times. Gaydos went into convulsions and had to be medevaced to St.Marys Medical Center. He suffered head trauma. What was left of his eye had to be surgically removed by doctors who felt so bad about the incident that they didn’t charge Gaydos anything.
And neither did authorities. He wasn’t charged with a crime or arrested. And Palm Beach County records show he was never convicted of a crime here.
By the way, Gaydos’ lawsuit shows that no knife was recovered at the scene.
While the incident occurred at night, Anderson claims there was plenty artificial lights from the parking lot to prevent an accidental shooting.
The lawyers for PBSO and Palm Springs police declined comment.