Funeral set for Memphis man in coma for 21 years - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Funeral set for Memphis man in coma for 21 years

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Bert Brunson died last week at a rehabilitation center. Bert Brunson died last week at a rehabilitation center.
Patricia Brunson-Ware says she wants to show forgiveness to the deputies charged with hog tying her son. Patricia Brunson-Ware says she wants to show forgiveness to the deputies charged with hog tying her son.
Burt's mother Patricia showed us his baby pictures and talked about her pain. Burt's mother Patricia showed us his baby pictures and talked about her pain.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Funeral arrangements are set for the Memphis man who spent the last 21 years in a vegetative state.

Bert Brunson died last week at a rehabilitation center.

The case shocked the Mid-South, and resulted in a law that now prevents law officers from hog tying suspects.

When Bert Brunson first went into the hospital he was 22 years old.  Just a few days ago, he died at the age of 43.

Just days before her son's Bert's funeral, his mom Patricia showed us his baby pictures and talked about the pain she is feeling.

"And what happened to me with my child I would not wish on my worst enemy," said Brunson-Ware.

It was the summer of 1991.  Bert Brunson had graduated from college and was working at the airport when sheriff's deputies pulled his car over under the suspicion of driving under the influence.

"My son was Memphis' Rodney King, situation happened the same year," Brunson-Ware stated.

But Brunson-Ware says her son's situation turned out a lot worse than Rodney King's.  Her son ended up in a vegetative state after being hog-tied by deputies.

"He suffered anoxic brain damage because he was hog-tied and placed in the back of the squad car face down, it was like he was crucified," Brunson-Ware said.

When he died last week, Brunson-Ware's son had been in a vegetative state for some 21 years.  The family won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Shelby County but Bert was never be the same.

"The lawsuit was filed, we did get a settlement but it never brought him back, I never heard him say mom again," said Brunson-Ware.

Now Brunson-Ware looks for peace in her son's pictures: his big date for the prom, a shot of them during happier times, and his 21 years of treatment.

She says his touch is what she will miss his most.

"Touch.  I won't be able to touch him or kiss him," said Brunson-Ware.  "I miss that the most, that's what we like to do with our loved ones," she added.

As for the deputies charged with hog-tying her son, Brunson-Ware says she wants to show forgiveness.

"So I just asked the Lord to not let me have a bitter cup so that my son could receive every blessing that the Lord had for him and I believe he did," Brunson-Ware said.  "Because we never thought he would live almost 21 years later from that night, matter of fact they all thought he was going to die that night."

Mrs. Brunson-Ware says her faith in God and support from her church and the community is helping her get through this tragedy.

Her son's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Christ Missionary Baptist Church.  His mom says it will be a celebration of her son's life.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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