Justice Thomas's nephew allegedly beaten in La. hospital tussle

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 10, 2010

A nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suffered a seizure after he was beaten and shocked during a scuffle with security guards at a New Orleans area hospital, relatives alleged Friday.

Derek Thomas, 25, was immobilized with a stun gun Thursday after he tried to leave the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., his sister told WDSU, a local television station. Security responded after Thomas refused a doctor's request to put on a hospital gown and started to leave, Kimberly Thomas said.

"One of the security guards punched him in the lip," she told WDSU. "Another one pulled out more than a fist full of his hair and, from that point, they [shocked] him," possibly with a Taser.

Derek Thomas has epilepsy, she said, and he suffered a seizure shortly after the stun gun was used.

Their mother, Dora Thomas, confirmed the account in an interview with The Washington Post. She said that she picked her son up from the hospital Friday and that he is resting at home.

"He's as well as can be expected," she said.

Clarence Thomas was planning to go to New Orleans to check on his nephew, Kimberly Thomas told the television station. A Supreme Court spokesman said the justice had no comment on the matter.

Reached at her home in Georgia, Clarence Thomas's mother, Leola Williams, said she, too, was joining the family in Louisiana. "I'm just worried about my grandson," Williams told The Post.

The hospital said in a statement that officials are investigating.

Officers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the emergency room, said Col. John Fortunato, a department spokesman, but they took no action because the situation was being handled by hospital security officials.

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