Phoenix Police Mistaken Developmentally Disabled 19-Year-Old for Armed Robber

Numerous factors contribute to making a police officer’s job challenging, including the need for them to be able to rapidly respond to a situation. When a suspect has a weapon in their possession or is fleeing their arrest, an officer must be able to decide within seconds what the best course of action is to take. While an officer must employ tactics that will allow them to maintain control over the situation, they must also ensure that they do not react unreasonably. In fact, officers are expected to handle every situation with the lowest level of use of force as possible to prevent a person from becoming injured or killed.

Now, as more and more police brutality cases flood the court system, it is obvious not all police officers are able to react to a given situation in a reasonable manner. This often results in innocent people getting hurt or even being mistaken for a criminal. A Phoenix family experienced this at the beginning of January after Phoenix police officers mistook their son for an alleged robber, who also happens to be his older half-brother [Source: AZ Family].


A Case of Mistaken Identity: 19-Year-Old Sickle Cell Patient Hospitalized After Police Mistake Him for His Half-Brother


On January 10, 2020, Phoenix police arrived at 19-year-old Dion Humphrey’s home allegedly firing flash bangs out of their vehicles. Officers had been looking for Khalil Thornton who they believe was connected with an armed robbery and attempted murder of a 66-year-old man on January 9th. Unfortunately, Humphrey had just returned from walking his sisters to school when police pulled up to the home.

Officers shot Humphrey, who they thought was Thornton at the time, in the chest with a rubber bullet and proceeded to tackle him to the ground. The source says an officer also stepped on his back. After the stream of incidents played out, officers then took Humphrey in for interviewing and it wasn’t until seven hours later that he was returned home. During the interview process, the family claims Humphrey, who is developmentally disabled due to sickle cell, explained to officers his medical condition but was told that he needed to answer some questions before he could get any sort of help.

After Humphrey was returned home, his family admitted him to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital to seek treatment for his condition and injuries. Humphrey’s father believes police used his son’s disability against him and denied him the proper medical attention. The family also believes the officers should be fired immediately not only for their negligence and engaging in acts of police brutality, but also because they did not take the proper steps to identify Humphrey before firing shots.

The family said that the mix-up should have never happened given the obvious differences between the two. For example, Thornton has dreads and tattoos, neither of which are things Humphrey has.


Family Demands Apology from City of Phoenix


Aside from wanting the officer fired, the family also says they want an apology from the City. A spokesman for the family also hinted the family might be seeking financial compensation, however, nothing was said regarding a lawsuit being filed as of yet.


If your teen is a victim of police misconduct, police brutality attorneys in Phoenix, AZ are available to help you. Although police officers are given a high level of power and authority, they are not permitted to abuse it. If you wish to learn more about obtaining justice for your teen’s suffering and/or how you can recover compensation as a form of relief, contact for help with locating a police brutality lawyer in your city.

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