Family of arrested 80-year-old man say Lone Jack police used excessive force

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LONE JACK, Mo. — The family of Bill Swan says his confrontation with police left the 80-year-old with bruises and broken ribs. Police say the senior citizen got feisty and threatened officers with his tractor.

“He’s 80, he’s a veteran, and he has had cancer,” said Libby Sawn, Bill’s wife, who says her husband was arrested by Lone Jack police after a showdown on his property Thursday morning.

“Police got there and told him to get off his tractor, he was on his own property, and said, ‘I don’t have to get off my tractor,'” said Bill’s grandson, Tim.

Police say crews were working in the area, and Swan was angry, believing they were on his property.  Police say this wasn’t the crew’s first run-in with Swan, so when things escalated, they called police.

“They maced him, then drug him off the tractor,” Tim added.

“It’s obvious they used excessive force,” said Libby, “He had abrasions on his face that were bleeding, he complained of pain on his right side.”

Police tell a different story. They say Swan tried to leave on his tractor, even when they yelled and waved for him to stop. Police say Swan refused, and claim he tried to run over the officers.

“Obviously he’s not going to fight back, he’s not going to hurt anybody,” said Tim.

Tim says his grandpa’s almost deaf, and needs help getting up stairs, let alone assaulting a police officer. Police say Swan put up quite a fight, hitting the officers, and reaching for one of their guns. Then came the arrest.

“When I saw him, the police officer’s probably in their mid-30s, I would think, God, an 80-year-old man, I would not be proud of what I did today,” added Tim.

Swan’s family says he was in bad shape when they picked him up from the police station– with bruises and cuts all over, plus two broken ribs.

“It’s very frightening,” said Libby, “Very frightening.”

“It makes me worried, police officers are supposed to serve and protect, and instead they’re going after people that pay their taxes, that do the right things, and are law-abiding citizens, and they’re picking on the small guy,” Tim said.

Police arrested Swan for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer. They’re turning the case over to the prosecutor.

The family says they’re not sure what to do about the charges right now. First they want to focus on letting Swan’s ribs heal, and to get him back to health.

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