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Man Claims Police Beat Him As Son, 2, Watched

CHICAGO (STMW) -- In a federal lawsuit filed Monday a man claims Chicago Heights police officers dragged him out of his vehicle and punched him while his two-year-old son watched.

Thomas Guzman claims that he was driving, with his two-year-old son as a passenger, on April 5, 2010 in Chicago Heights when he noticed people arguing and continued driving, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Guzman's vehicle was pulled over by Chicago Heights police officers Tom Disney and Benjamin Nguyen, according to the suit. The officers approached the car with guns drawn, dragged Guzman out of the vehicle and pushed him to the ground, the suit said.

The suit claims that Guzman was horrified and pleaded with officers not to shoot him as his son was in the car. Disney was handcuffing Guzman when Nguyen punched him in the face without any provocation, according to the suit.

Guzman noticed that one of the residents of the home where his car had been pulled over was video recording the incident with his cell phone, according to the suit. Once the officers realized they were being recorded, Disney approached the resident, and seized and destroyed the cell phone. Disney also beat the resident, the suit said.

A third officer arrived and took Guzman to the police station, according to the suit. After he was released, Guzman went to St. James Hospital for treatment of his injuries where he was diagnosed with a concussion and post concussive syndrome.

The five-count suit seeks a jury trial and claims excessive force and conspiracy. The suit seeks unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Heights police was not immediately available for comment.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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