Arrested for Epilepsy


Look and Learn

When most people think of epileptic seizures, they think of people shaking on the ground -- symptoms of what's called a tonic-clonic or grand mal seizure. What Beloungea goes through is called a partial complex seizure, and it's actually more common.

A partial complex seizure does not come with the violent shaking symptoms most people associate with epilepsy. It involves a spell of unorganized, unintentional behavior: picking at clothes, chewing motions, and wandering aimlessly.

The Epilepsy Foundation said that the best thing police or bystanders can do when they see someone undergoing a seizure is to not restrain the person. Rather, they should simply let the seizure pass, watch to make sure the seizure sufferer is not in harm's way, and comfort the person when it ends. Call 911 if the episode lasts more than 5 to 7 minutes, the group advises.

Beloungea was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity. Beloungea is not insane -- he's simply epileptic. But his lawyer, Otis Underwood, told ABC News there was no other way to get Beloungea off the charges than the insanity defense. The catch: He had to spend 20 days locked in a criminal mental facility.

Beloungea said he's still waiting for an apology from the Oakland Sheriff's Office. What would Beloungea say if he could address them directly?

"I would say, 'In a situation like mine, look for a medical bracelet. Pay attention to what you're doing, know your job. Don't just grab a taser gun … 50,000 volts in a situation like mine could kill a person.'"

Beloungea's case is closed, for now. He's just hoping police will know better next time his body betrays him.

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

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