Man Severely Burned When Police Held Him on Hot Pavement

James Bradford Nelson has been fighting schizophrenia since he was an adolescent. He was in a schizophrenic state when he encountered police on June 23 of this year in a KFC parking lot. The caller stated that Nelson was acting erratically and had tried to punch the manager, steal his wallet, and he was pointing his finger as a gun at patrons. This would be one of many contacts that Nelson had with police during the last ten years for offenses including misdemeanor drug possession, attempted robbery, and larceny. It's no doubt that Nelson's mental illness traps him in a cycle of drug abuse and crime. Nelson was no stranger to police encounters.

This day's contact with police, however, would not be like the others. Because when police arrived at that KFC parking lot, they encountered a resistant Nelson in the throes of a schizophrenic state. He was combative and resisted police attempts to restrain him. He was also shirtless on a 100 degree Sacramento Area day when the Citrus Heights Police held him down on the pavement. An egg begins to fry at 170 degrees and human skin begins to burn severely at 162. The pavement that day is predicted to be around 170 degrees.

When police realized that Nelson was burned they poured water on the wounds and called an ambulance for help. Nelson was rushed to UC Davis Hospital where he was admitted to the burns unit and was unconscious for three days. He is predicted to need hospital care for at least another two weeks.

How Nelson ended up in the KFC parking lot is a bit of a mystery. He does not remember anything that happened during his interaction with police. A few days earlier, Nelson had been visiting cousins in Sacramento when he got into a minor car accident. He called his mother to tell them that he was in a small accident and waiting for the police to arrive. Then he remembers trying to find his way home. That's where everything becomes muddled for Nelson and his family.

Now Nelson is in the hospital suffering from kidney failure as a result of his severe burns. His mother wants answers for why things were handled the way they were, but for now the police say that the case is ongoing. Black Lives Matter of Sacramento has taken interest in Nelson's case and is planning a protest.


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