Family files lawsuit against state police after ‘military style assault’ set off man’s PTSD

Tammi Kaufman said her family set up a memorial to their father in the place where he was shot and killed by state police.

“If there is one way I can honor my dad, it would be to prevent this from happening to another Vietnam vet,” Kaufman said.

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She talked with Channel 11 just feet from where her father, 73-year-old Walter Wiemann, was shot three times in the back by state police. Her father suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia. He was also a Vietnam veteran and a war hero.

Two years ago this month, Wiemann suffered a PTSD attack and was having a mental crisis. Kaufman called for help to voluntarily commit him. She said state police showed up and terrorized her father.

“My dad did not deserve to die the way that he did. He did not deserve the treatment he received,” she said.

The family filed a federal lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Police and more than 30 troopers who were at the family home on Nursery Road for more than four hours in September 2018. Channel 11 was on the scene as well, watching as state police surrounded the home and brought in a helicopter and armored vehicle and tried to get the man out of the home.

“The officers violated Walter’s 4th Amendment rights when they mounted a full-scale military style assault in order to execute an involuntary psychological commitment warrant,” family lawyer Al Lindsay said.

Wiemann’s family said he often believed he was in combat in Vietnam due to his Alzheimer’s. He eventually came out of his home to go into the garage and he was carrying an antique, unloaded gun. His family said he turned and saw police, had no idea they were there and probably had a flashback.

“My family will never get over the horror of the trauma that occurred that day. We never got to say goodbye,” Kaufman said.

A state police spokesperson said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.