Handling of epileptic seizure leads to lawsuit in Weslaco

Julio Duran said he was out to enjoy an afternoon with family and friends at Weslaco City Park.

But it TMs what happened to him there is now part of a lawsuit against City of Weslaco and a private security company.

Duran is alleging abuse and neglect.

He said the police and employees with Coastal Security & Investigations are guilty of not helping him when he was having an epileptic seizure.

Julio doesn't remember anything from that day.

He doesn't remember falling to the ground or remember the police officers who allegedly held him down-with force.

Julio's mother, Maria Espinoza, remembers it all and says when her son went down with an epileptic seizure. She asked for help.

"I asked for help to anyone before I knew it, he was surrounded by police," Espinoza said.

Maria said the officers weren't there to help her son.

"Instead of helping me they made it worse," she said.

She said they thought her son was on drugs and proceeded to hold him down until the seizure stopped.

"They grabbed him, mistreated him, arrested him and kept us away," said Espinoza.

Now there's a lawsuit against the City of Weslaco and Coastal Security & Investigations, which states Julio was discriminated against because of his medical condition.

"We even had to defend him in a criminal lawsuit," said attorney Corrina Spencer-Scheurich. "They try to prosecute him under public intoxication law---when he was clearly abused in this situation."

Spencer-Scheurich, who is part of the Texas Civil Rights Project and is representing Julio, said she hopes this lawsuit sheds some light on how some police departments lack training on these types of situations.

"We're hoping to see a change in the Weslaco police force and the security company so they will respect people's rights and don't abuse people who have disabilities," Spencer-Scheurich said.

Julio said he along with his wife and two children are trying to move forward and forget about that horrific day back in September.

Julio said while he wants to forget that day, he wants to make sure that no one else goes through the pain he did.

The City of Weslaco said, "As a matter of policy, the City of Weslaco does not comment on pending litigation, but in this instance, though the City understands that a lawsuit has been filed by Mr. Julio Cesar Duran, the City has not been served."

"The City of Weslaco does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, or any other protected classification. Departmental policies and codes of conduct are in effect so that the City of Weslaco may best serve and protect its citizens."