By James Paladino (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Dec 27, 2012 12:08 AM EST


San Diego police car is parked in front of the home of Arlene Holmes, mother of the James Holmes, in Rancho Penasquitos, California (Photo : Reuters)

Antonio Martinez, a 21-year old Latino man with Down syndrome, was reportedly pepper sprayed and physically abused on a San Diego street by the local police department after he ignored orders made by officers looking for a domestic violence suspect in the area. Martinez did not suffer major injuries aside from bruises, and was never charged, reports Fox News Latino.

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Dan Gilleon, the family's attorney, explains: "When he was stopped by police that night, he was probably terrified, panicked, and tried to ignore the deputy. Of course they had no right to stop him, much less use pepper spray or beat him."

The alleged beating took place while Antonio was en route to a family bakery for his daily work shift, according to the report.

Gilleon adds, "The family is adamant that race is a factor here, they have a strong feeling about it. The Sheriff's department has apologized and even admitted responsibility, but saying you're sorry now is different than what may be said in court later on. The family has said Martinez felt betrayed, and it's not about the money for them, but they want to do something so this never happens to anyone else again."

Internal Affairs is now investigating the matter, so make sure to check back with Latinos Post for any updates.

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