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Couple suing Texas police for $7.5 million tells of injuries
The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO- Yolanda Williams said she was headed to a local park when she suffered a seizure and fainted nearly three months ago.

Her husband, Donta Aubrety, was about a half block away at their house. Paramedics were called in to help her, finding her collapsed in the street.
What they say happened next is the topic of a $7.5 million, civil rights lawsuit the couple filed against the city of San Antonio and four of its police officers.

The lawsuit claims the officers beat Aubrety and hurt his wife in the ordeal. Two sketchy 15-second video clips taken by a witness' cell phone and released by plaintiff attorney James W. Myart Jr., show portions of the incident.

City attorney Michael Bernard met with Myart on Monday to discuss the lawsuit. Bernard said he will review statements and medical reports from Myart before responding. Still, he said that an initial review of the case show police acted with appropriate force.

"They're presenting this like a New Orleans police thing, but this is a different situation," he said, referring to the beating of a retired teacher captured on video by an AP Television News crew. "The police here were actually called out because of a disturbance. There's more to a story than on a short (video) clip."

Rene Salinas, FBI spokesman in San Antonio, confirmed that the FBI is investigating the incident and would forward its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Paramedics were attempting to lift Williams while she was shouting for them to put her down, the couple told The Associated Press on Monday. She says in the lawsuit that the seizure was asthma-related and would pass, so she refused medical treatment.

But paramedics continued to try to lift her by the arms, she said, causing more pain. Aubrety attempted to intervene, prompting EMS to call police.

Aubrety said he bit an officer, but only in self-defense as the officers rushed him and beat him with their hands and a baton. The lawsuit claims the officers applied pepper spray and asked, "Have you had enough? Want some more?"

Aubrety had photos taken of alleged injuries from the Aug. 6 incident, which include apparent bruises to his side, shoulder, ear and shin. Williams has photos of a cut to her head.

A witness, who at the time lived nearby and did not know the couple, videotaped parts of the scene with a cell phone camera.

Police charged Aubrety with felony aggravated arrest, resisting arrest and interfering with the duties of a public official. His wife was charged with lesser, related charges.

Aubrety works at a McDonald's along with his wife. They have an 8-month-old daughter, whom Aubrety said he thought he may never see again.

"It was the worst thing I ever endured in my life. I've had run-ins with the San Antonio PD before, but I thought that day I'd lose my life."

Officers in the case report Aubrety as being the violent one, trying to strike them, and after biting an officer, yelling that he hopes the officer dies from AIDS.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 
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