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Teen in hospital after being misidentified by Phoenix police as suspect in armed robbery

Posted at 11:32 AM, Jan 17, 2020

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- An Arizona teenager is in the hospital after Phoenix police admit they misidentified the teen as a suspect in an armed robbery and attempted murder.

Dion Humphrey, 19, is at Phoenix Children's Hospital where his family tells KNXV he has swelling around his heart from his encounter with police.

"They didn't respond to him in any humane fashion," said his father, William Humphrey.

On Friday, Humphrey said he was walking home from dropping his sisters off at school when he heard what sounded like a gunshot from a white vehicle, so he took off running.

The teen didn't know at the time that the unmarked vehicle was the Phoenix Police Department firing a stun grenade as they thought he was a suspect in a case being investigated by the Special Assignment Unit.

Humphrey said he was then blocked off by a second unmarked vehicle, was hit with non-lethal force and then tackled to the ground.

Humphrey suffers from a medical condition of sickle cell anemia and asthma, making him very fragile, according to his family. The teen weighs no more than 90 pounds.

A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department tells KNXV that they used the auditory diversionary device because of violence from an incident the day before. Baton rounds were also used on the teen because they say they thought he was trying to get away, potentially creating a greater danger with a school nearby.

Police were in the area of Alta Vista Road searching for two suspects involved in an armed robbery and attempted murder the day before. On January 9, Phoenix police were called to a 66-year-old man who was shot by four people during an armed robbery that left him in critical condition. Two of the suspects, both teens, were arrested. There are two more people police are looking for after that incident.

The department tells KNXV that they misidentified the teen because they are searching for his half brother, who they want to question in connection to the crimes.

However, Humphrey's father tells us his half brother, who grew up with the mother, hasn't lived in the same home for over a decade.

William Humphrey said his son does not look like his half brother.

"It definitely makes me question if he was profiled," said William.

The department said after questioning for hours, they drove Humphrey home.

Humphrey's father saw his son in pain, and took him to the hospital where he was put in an intensive care unit for five days.

The family plans to file a formal complaint against the department.

This story was originally published by Nicole Grigg at KNXV.