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Man jailed after suffering stroke sues Vegas police

A man claims he was suffering from a stroke in January 2013 and Las Vegas police falsely arrested him and jailed him for several days without providing medical attention.

Clark County resident Nathan Okpoti, 38, made the allegation in a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the Metropolitan Police Department and officer John D. Brandon.

Police spokesman Jesse Roybal said the department does not comment on litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Okpoti was driving near Charleston Boulevard and Fourth Street on the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2013, when he had a stroke “that impaired his mental and physical abilities.”

Brandon stopped the man’s vehicle on suspicion that he was driving under the influence, according to the document, and was joined by two other officers.

The lawsuit alleges Okpoti told Brandon that he does not drink or take drugs, that his head hurt and that his legs were weak.

Okpoti complied with Brandon’s field sobriety tests, which Okpoti failed.

According to the lawsuit, the officer’s “impaired driving report” said that Okpoti had no odor of an alcoholic beverage; was “wobbling, falling, swaying,” had watery and glassy eyes, was confused and did not know what street he was on or the date.

Okpoti was arrested and taken to the Clark County Detention Center, where he was given a blood test. According to the lawsuit, Okpoti never received the test results.

The document alleges Okpoti then was shackled in arm and leg restraints and placed in a holding cell. Okpoti could not correctly dress himself in the jail uniform, the lawsuit alleges.

Okpoti was placed in a cell with another inmate, who complained to officers that he “was making noises as if there was something wrong with him,” according to the lawsuit. While the other inmate was eventually removed, police did nothing to investigate Okpoti’s situation.

Okpoti was held at the jail until Jan. 29, 2013, “without charges and while displaying a need for urgent medical care, and suffering a life-threatening episode,” the document alleges. His lawyer said Okpoti was never charged.

After Okpoti was released onto Fremont Street, according to the lawsuit, he spent hours trying to find his way home.

“He took the wrong bus, walked for several miles, and eventually made it home,” the document said.

Eventually, Okpoti ran out of things to eat at home and began trying to contact friends and family to bring him food, according to the lawsuit.

A friend came to bring him food and found the “left side of his body slack and his face rigid and flexed in upon itself,” according to the document. The friend noticed Okpoti’s general confusion and contacted Okpoti’s mother, a registered nurse who was out of state.

Okpoti’s mother believed he had suffered a stroke and returned home to take him to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. He was admitted on Feb. 27, 2013.

According to the lawsuit, “the admitting personnel stated they were shocked” that police had not noticed Okpoti’s serious medical condition.

Okpoti is represented by Las Vegas attorneys Robert Flummerfelt and Elizabeth Tullio.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.

 

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