Monday, November 09, 2009

Poland at work: Polish basketball star says he was mistaken for drug dealer

From: OC Register
Michael Jordon enjoys the same type of celebrety as Jerry Reschke, a picture of whom, unfortunately, could not be found
A Polish American basketball star wants Newport Beach to pay for plastic surgery he says is needed for injuries suffered when police mistook him for a drug dealer and forcibly drew blood from his arm.

Jerry Reschke, 56, says he was the victim of a rear-end traffic accident in 2007 and that his "dazed and confused" condition led to a "demeaning and demanding line of questions" about selling or possessing drugs.

The Laguna Beach resident has no criminal record in Orange County, according to court records.

Reschke "is a law-abiding citizen who is well-known in his home country and parts of Europe as a basketball star, and is easily recognized in Poland and other parts of Europe as such, not unlike the manner in which Michael Jordan is recognized in the United States," says a legal claim filed against the city Oct. 2.

Reschke, according to the claim, "remembers being unable to coherently respond to questions and recalls that he was dazed and confused at the scene – notwithstanding his excellent physical condition as a world-class athlete."

That resulted in the officer demanding that a blood sample be taken, an order Reschke says he resisted in vain. Reschke "squirmed as best he could and as much as he dared when confronted with a needle placed in proximity to his arm, and fought to avoid giving blood," the claim says.

While the results of any blood test were never provided, Reschke "knows the blood sample came out 'clean,' since he has never used drugs in his life, nor has he ever bought or sold drugs," the claim says.

Reschke "has a permanent hernia or hematoma at the site where the needle was inserted … as a result of his squirming and fighting," says the claim, which is a required precursor to a lawsuit.

Neither Reschke nor his attorney could be reached for comment, and city officials did not have an immediate comment.

The claim seeks $5,000 for surgery to address the injury, and says Reschke "will make himself available at any time for interview, deposition, lie detector test, medical examination or anything else to further or assist the city in the investigation and processing of this claim."