North Carolina Teen Beaten and Tased During Psychiatric Episode at Hospital, Lawsuit Says

Hayden Long was attacked by hospital staff during psychiatric emergency, his mother says.
Hayden Long was tackled and tased during mental health crisis, his mother says. CBS News

A North Carolina teen was body-slammed, beaten and tased by hospital security guards and sheriff's deputies during a mental health episode outside an emergency room, his mother alleges in a federal lawsuit.

Jessica Long took her 16-year-old son, Hayden, to Atrium Health Lincoln in December 2019, seeking medical help because he was acting out and appeared to be experiencing a psychiatric crisis, the suit says.

She asked security guards for assistance in getting Hayden inside, according to the lawsuit.  

Instead, Long alleges the teen was was "aggressively confronted" by a guard who drew a stun gun and repeatedly tased him. 

A second security officer allegedly came up behind the teen, put an arm across his neck and slammed him to the ground, where Hayden's face crashed into the pavement, the suit says.

A 45-minute surveillance video released by the hospital after the incident that garnered national media attention appears to show the teen being slammed to the ground and being tased by hospital security officers. Sheriff's deputies responding to a 911 call are also seen in the video grappling with the teen.

The hospital and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department have repeatedly said their officers responded appropriately given the teen’s threatening behavior. Sheriff Beam, in interviews with local media, said the teen spit blood at one of deputies, which he said was "felonious assault."

Attorneys representing the defendants asked for the suit to be dismissed, saying the deputies were protected by government immunity and that the suit's damage claims were undermined by the teen's “willful and wanton conduct," The Charlotte Observer reported this week. All of the parties deny any wrongdoing.

"With litigation pending, and out of respect for the process, we look forward to sharing more about our position in court," the hospital said in a statement emailed to Inside Edition Digital on Thursday.

The suit contains a list of claims including assault and battery, excessive force, false imprisonment, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. It also accuses some defendants of libel and slander for allegedly making false statements about the incident.

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