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Ill. man suing over alleged '05 attack by fire paramedic

ROSELAND, Ill. Attorneys for a man who says he was beaten by a Chicago Fire Department paramedic two years ago released a videotape Monday that shows the man cowering as he takes blows to his face.

Other Fire Department personnel allegedly stood and watched throughout the beating, which happened in July 2005 outside Roseland Community Hospital.

The paramedic on the tape was reportedly upset that Robert Cole, 43 who had called for an ambulance after feeling dizzy changed his mind on the way to the hospital and decided he didn't want medical attention.

"He said if I didn't get [any] treatment, he was going to give it to me," Cole said at a news conference.

Cole sued the city, hospital and paramedics in 2006, but the hospital recently provided the tape to Cole's attorneys.

The paramedic who allegedly attacked Cole Demond Ward was fired in 2005 after an internal investigation. Ward has since died, sources said.

Four other Fire Department employees who were at the hospital were suspended.

The tape shows Cole being tossed out of the ambulance and onto the ground in a parking lot. Later, Cole is shown on the ground outside the emergency room as Ward stands over him, repeatedly hitting his face, attorneys said.

Cole called 911 and was arrested by police, who were told he attacked Ward first, his attorneys said.

Cole pleaded guilty to battery because he was told he would have to serve only 10 days if he did, said his attorney, Marcelle LeCompte. Otherwise, he could have waited months for a trial.

LeCompte said the hospital turned over the tape of the beating to the Chicago Fire Department in the days after the beating. But no one contacted the state's attorney's office to inform officials that the statements that led to the charges were contradicted by the tape, LeCompte said. "No one really cared," she said. "He was collateral damage."

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