by Beth Hunsdorfer, Capitol News Illinois, and Molly Parker, Lee Enterprises Midwest: For Complete Post, Click Here…
As Blaine Reichard rose from a breakfast table at the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in southern Illinois, a worker ordered him to pull up his sagging pants.
A 24-year-old man with developmental disabilities, Reichard was accustomed to workers at the state-run residential facility telling him what to do. But this time he didn’t obey.
“I’m a gangsta! This is how we do it where I am from!” responded Reichard, who, despite his street-tough defiance, still slept with a teddy bear.
Investigators who later came to the scene of the 2014 incident heard various versions of what happened next. But multiple witnesses told the Illinois State Police that shortly after this exchange, Reichard was taken to the floor, held down by four mental health techs and repeatedly punched in the face, according to a 700-page state police investigation obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Reichard cursed and spat, trying to fight back. His resistance was met with more blows, according to witness accounts. Reichard, whose diagnoses include autism, would later tell police it felt like he was hit 100 times.
Multiple employees, including a doctor, told investigators that Reichard’s injuries were the worst they’d ever seen. One tech told police she vomited at the sight of his injured face.