Category: Police Brutality


Cecily McMillan, who faces up to seven years in prison, was immediately handcuffed and ‘whisked away’

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Cecily McMillan arrives at court in New York at the start of her assault trial. (Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA)

Cecily McMillan—the 25-year-old Occupy Wall Street organizer who was allegedly sexually assaulted and brutalized by a police officer at Zuccotti Park, is facing up to seven years in prison after—in what her supporters say is a cruel twist—she was convicted Monday afternoon of “felony assault” of the very police officer she says is her perpetrator.

“This threatens a chilling effect over protest movements going forward,” said Stan Williams, media coordinator for Justice for Cecily, in an interview with Common Dreams. “I am so sad and raw right now.”

After four weeks of trial and just three hours of jury deliberation, the verdict was issued Monday afternoon, and Judge Ronald Zweibel immediately remanded McMillan into custody pending sentencing, rejecting her lawyer’s requests for bail.

The courtroom, which was packed with McMillan’s supporters and approximately 50 police officers, erupted into cries of “Shame!” as McMillan was handcuffed. According to Williams, people who stood up were pushed down and told to be quiet, yet the crowd “continued to shout and yell.”

“You could see Cecily over the heads of police officers who lined the front of the courtroom,” he added. “She looked upset and in shock over the verdict. Then she was whisked away.”

Williams said the scene was “extremely triggering” given the brutality of the March 2012 incident around which the trial orbited. According to a statement from Justice for Cecily,

[O]n March 17, 2012, Cecily’s attendance at Zuccotti was a point of party, not protest. It was St. Patrick’s Day and as a McMillan, she vowed for this one occasion to put down the bullhorn and pick up the beer. Cecily swung by the park to pick up a friend on her way to a nearby pub. Minutes later, she was sexually assaulted while attempting to leave Zuccotti in compliance with police evacuation orders. Seized from behind, she was forcefully grabbed by the breast and ripped backwards. Cecily startled and her arm involuntarily flew backward into the temple of her attacker, who promptly flung her to the ground, where others repeatedly kicked and beat her into a string of seizures.

McMillan is described by her supporters as “a 25-year-old organizer” who “has been politically active for over a decade — most notably in the Democratic Socialists for America, the anti-Scott Walker mobilization, and Occupy Wall Street.”

She earlier rejected a deal from prosecutors, in which she would plea guilty to second-degree assault of a police officer in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors for no prison time.

McMillan’s supporters have slammed Judge Zweibel for imposing a gag order on her lawyers and showing strong favor to the prosecution.

McMillan will soon be on her way to Rikers Island, said Williams.

According to The Guardian, “Hers is believed to be the last of more than 2,600 prosecutions brought against members of the movement, most of which were dismissed or dropped.”

McMillan’s supporters say McMillan will fight the verdict in an appeals court. According to Williams, there will be a rally Monday evening at Zuccotti Park, and there is a separate fund being collected for her commissary costs.

In a statement immediately following the verdict, Justice for Cecily declared:

We recognize that, as poorly as Cecily has been treated these past two years, she was lucky enough to have an amazing support system comprised of representation from the National Lawyer’s Guild and Mutant Legal, as well as significant financial help from supporters of Occupy Wall Street and a team of ten who tirelessly worked to bring her case to light and support her through this trying time. It’s harrowing to imagine how many unfortunate people encounter this system without the resources Cecily had, though we know countless innocent people are forced to plea to felonies and ruin their lives every day in this building.

Reactions and reports are being posted on Twitter:

Below is an exclusive Democracy Now! interview with McMillan.

 

 

Exclusive: OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Describes Seizure, Bodily Injuries in Arrest by NYPD

 

_____________________

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Dog shot and killed by Sulphur police officer
Family photo via Huffington Post

 

April 30, 2014

According to Tuesday’s KPLC 7 News, a Sulphur, La., police officer fatally shot a 14-month-old dog on Monday morning after being called out to investigate a call about two suspicious men who were trespassing.

Though the police officer has stated that the dog bit him, a witness to the traumatic scene has a different version of what took place at the parking lot of the Southwest Daily News. The young dog, named “Arzy Kensington,” had been tied to a fence near a box truck which Brandon Carpenter, 28, and Logan Laliberte, 21, had taken shelter in when it started to rain.

According to Eric Midkiff, circulation manager at the Southwest Daily News, the officer who had been called out to the scene to investigate a possible trespassing, interacted briefly with the dog before firing the fatal shot. Midkiff described what he saw to the Huffington Post:

The dog was rubbing up against the cop,

He would rub the dog’s back and then push him away. All of a sudden, he just jumped down and shot the dog in the head.”

He added:

That dog did not bite that officer,”

“The dog was wagging his tail, his tongue was hanging out.”

Read More Here

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NYPD Twitter campaign backfires, thousands of negative tweets

NEW YORK Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:18pm EDT

 

A pedestrian walks past a line of New York Police Department (NYPD) cars parked at Times Square in New York, October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

A pedestrian walks past a line of New York Police Department (NYPD) cars parked at Times Square in New York, October 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn

 

(Reuters) – A New York Police Department campaign to burnish its image via social media instead produced a flood of pictures of apparent police brutality and tweets critical of the force being shared at a rate of thousands an hour.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Wednesday he would continue and expand the NYPD Twitter campaign a day after it backfired, triggering an outpouring of negative images including police violence at New York’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an NYPD officer pointing a gun at a dog, and an officer asleep in a subway car.

“The reality of policing is that oftentimes our actions are lawful, but they look awful,” Bratton told a news briefing at New York City Hall.

“Most of those photos that I looked at are old news,” said Bratton, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to take over from Ray Kelly, who served for 12 years under de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.

 

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NYPD commissioner welcomes attention from disastrous #myNYPD hashtag

FILE - In this May 1, 2012, file photo, a police lieutenant swings his baton at Occupy Wall Street activists in New York. This photo is among the many put on Twitter in response to a New York Police Department request for Twitter users to share pictures of themselves posing with police officers. The NYPD sent a tweet on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, saying it might feature the photographs on its Facebook page. The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption

This file photo, from May 2012, shows a police lieutenant swinging his baton at Occupy Wall Street activists in New York. It was recirculated Tuesday in response to a police hashtag that went awry. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

The New York Police Department’s attempt at using social media to connect with constituents on Tuesday went…well, let’s say awry.

An initial tweet asked people to post photos of themselves with police officers along with the hashtag #myNYPD. Obviously this went poorly, because obviously it was going to go poorly, because these things can really only go poorly (we’ll get back to that in a moment). In response, people sent in lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of photos of New York police officers doing violent things to people. (Like the photo at the top of this post. It’s almost two years old, but thanks to the #myNYPD hashtag, it has been everywhere over the last 24 hours.)

William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said he isn’t too bothered by the reaction:

“I kind of welcome the attention,” Bratton said Wednesday as the negative tweets kept coming nearly 24 hours after cops invited the cyber-submissions….

“Most of the pictures I looked at, they’re old news,” Bratton said, tossing previous NYPD administrations under the patrol car. “They’ve been out there for a long time.”

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Protesters descend on Albuquerque City Hall to decry deadly shootings

Published time: April 08, 2014 03:59

Downtown Albuquerque (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Downtown Albuquerque (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Protesters filled Albuquerque City Hall on Monday evening, forcing the city council to clear its legislative agenda and turn the podium over to citizens furious with police over a spiking number of fatal shootings.

City Council President Ken Sanchez told the Albuquerque Journal that more police officers would be assigned to make sure the meeting was peaceful, and that the meeting would be adjourned if tempers flared, but said the council is mulling legislation that would create more oversight over the department.

We need to make some dramatic changes,” he said. “We’re confronting a crisis situation at this time.”

Tension have been building between police and the public for years. Wynema and Michael Gonzagowski told Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times that, upon moving to Albuquerque, friends warned them to avoid the police. They did not take those warnings seriously until they watched police fatally shoot their neighbor, Alfred Lionel Redwine on March 25.

I’ve never been scared of crops, but out here, the cops terrify me,” said Michael, age 39. “They treat you like you’re out looking to cause trouble every time they talk to you.”

Chief Eden said in a press conference that Redwine brandished a weapon and shot at police during a standoff at a public housing complex, forcing the officers to return fire. Wynemda Gonzagowski disagreed, telling the Times that Redwine had surrendered to police with his arms out when he was hit.

They didn’t warn him, they didn’t tell him to freeze and get on the ground or to put his hand behind his hand,” she said.

 

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ReasonTV ReasonTV

 

Published on Feb 26, 2014

While Washington State is still adjusting to many changes since legalizing recreational marijuana—from growing space size to the number of licenses to give out—one of the biggest changes may be Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) employees going to work in the private sector. Reason TV sat down with Patrick Moen, a former supervisory special agent with the DEA, who now works as compliance director and senior counsel at Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that invests in cannabis.

“The more law enforcement officers acknowledge that prohibition [of marijuana] is wrong, the better off society is going to be,” said Moen. At the DEA he specialized in wiretaps and worked on cases varying from busting heroin and methamphetamine rings to rooting out pot and painkiller dealers. “Taking that first step is often the most difficult one, it just so happened that I was the one to take it.”

Moen says that he got a lot of support from friends and former colleagues, the latter of which privately asked him for jobs. He says people may be surprised to know that an overwhelming majority of agents he interacted with didn’t feel marijuana should be a priority for the DEA.

“Well, my own personal point of view is that drugs like methamphetamine and heroin have legitimate, observable, harmful effects to the user and people around the user and you definitely cannot say the same thing about cannabis,” says Moen.

Reason TV presented Moen with numbers from the Department of Justice’s 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment indicating an increase in the availability of methamphetamine and heroin in the U.S.

“There are some cases of mine in particular that I am very proud of that I can look back at and say that I had a measurable effect on this community for some period of time before it bounced back,” says Moen. “I don’t think anyone was under the illusion that we were going to stop it, that we were going to win the war on drugs.”

Moen is aware of the criticism of the DEA and the war on drugs in general.

“I think there is a certain subset of the population that views DEA agents as jackbooted thugs, that have an agenda to oppress them…. But it’s just another job, and there are guys there that are competent, and there are guys there that are less so, but they are all trying to do the job the best that they can.”

Privateer Holdings is looking to invest in businesses that surround the legal marijuana industry like the cannabis review site, Leafly.com, which also helps users find different strains and locations of cannabis around them. Leafly claims to have a website and app that generate more than more than 2.3 million visits a month.

The private cannabis industry isn’t without worries though. CEO at Privateer Holdings, Brenden Kennedy, told Bloomberg TV on January 28, that banking in the marijuana industry was nearly impossible because banks were concerned with the taboo nature of the product. “We have been kicked out of two banks, two large banks, very unceremoniously,” said Kennedy, who also said at least one employee at Privateer Holdings had experienced trouble with his personal bank account.

“The biggest risk we see is from the federal government. Bureaucrats and politicians are always the last ones to accept change,” said Kennedy.

Approximately 10:07.

Produced and edited by Paul Detrick. Shot by Alex Manning. Music is “A Freak” by Moby.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

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The Telegraph

Ukraine and the growing number of disappeared

  David Blair reports on a secret campaign against dissent

Anti-government protests in Ukraine....epa04049795 A protester stands guard on a barricade near a line of riot police during the continuing protest in Kiev

A protester stands guard on a barricade near a line of riot police during the continuing demonstrations in Kiev Photo: EPA

In normal times, the route from the golden domes of Mikhailovsky Cathedral to the grandeur of Independence Square in the heart of Kiev might count among the most beautiful walks in Europe.

On the morning of January 3, a young Ukrainian set out on this 10-minute journey across a carpet of snow. But Rostislav Tolstoy, a 31-year-old protester swept up in the struggle against the country’s autocratic leader, never reached his destination.

Today, his face stares from a “missing” poster on the wall of Trade Union House, an occupied public building forming the nerve centre of Ukraine’s protest movement. At some point in his short daylight walk, he simply disappeared.

“We always warn people ‘don’t go anywhere alone’,” said Alexeiy Soloviyov, a fellow demonstrator and friend of Mr Tolstoy.

“Unfortunately, he did go out by himself. We called him constantly for three days, but he didn’t answer his phone. We called all hospitals, morgues and police stations – but there was no news.”

As Ukraine’s turmoil enters its third month, President Viktor Yanukovych remains locked in confrontation with tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying central Kiev behind icebound barricades.

An anti-government activist shines a laser pointer toward police at a barricade in central Kiev (AP)

Mr Yanukovych, a burly former electrician, who served time in jail for theft and assault in his youth, has not yet steeled himself to clear the protest camps in Independence Square with a full scale assault.

Rather than risk such bloodshed and obloquy, Mr Yanukovych’s security forces have chosen an alternative strategy: they are trying to cripple the rallies with a covert campaign of abduction and torture.

Daily incidents lift the veil on this silent offensive by a desperate president.

The first pillar of the effort is straightforward harassment. Thousands of demonstrators have found their names, addresses and birth dates suddenly appearing online. These long lists also disclose the colour, make and registration number of their cars.

The effect of releasing this information – which could only have emerged from a government database – was incendiary in the literal sense. Cars belonging to protesters have been set ablaze in the middle of the night, with perhaps 200 receiving this treatment so far.

This kind of vandalism is carried out by people derisively known as “Tutuskhi” – jobless youths hired by the government to cause trouble.

Above them stands a more dangerous tier of state agents, centred around the SBU, Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service. To retain deniability, the evidence suggests that hardened criminals are paid by the SBU to do the bloodiest jobs.

This nexus between the secret police and organised crime controls the second pillar of Mr Yanukovych’s hidden offensive: the kidnapping of protesters.

The ordeal of Dmytro Bulatov, a prime mover behind the protests, provides the most compelling recent evidence. After he went missing in Kiev on 22 Jan, nothing was heard from Mr Bulatov until Thursday night, when he staggered into a village outside the capital having been dumped in a forest by his captors.

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Related Articles

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Ukraine protest leader says he was tortured into saying he was a US spy

Anti-government activist Dmytro Bulatov calls for guarantee he will not be prosecuted after fleeing to Lithuania

Dmytro Bulatov holds up his hands to show marks where he says nails were driven through his hands

Ukrainian opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov at a press conference at Vilnius University hospital. He says his kidnappers beat him and drove nails through his hands. Photograph: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images

A Ukrainian anti-government activist who fled the country after being abducted said he had been forced under torture to declare himself a US spy.

Dmytro Bulatov, the leader of a protest group known as AutoMaidan, said his kidnappers forced him to say on camera that he had accepted money from the US embassy to organise anti-government protests in Ukraine.

“I was telling them lies just to stop the torture … at one point I asked them to kill me because I couldn’t stand it any more,” the 35-year-old said on Thursday, speaking at the Vilnius University emergency hospital in Lithuania where he is being treated after leaving Ukraine on Sunday.

Bulatov was found bloodied and injured in woods outside Kiev on 30 January. He said unidentified assailants had driven nails through his hands in a “crucifixion” and had beaten him during a week in captivity.

EU leaders offered to help the activist after Ukrainian police said they wanted to charge him with taking part in “mass disorder”.

The potential charges relate to AutoMaidan’s protests, which involve convoys of sometimes hundreds of cars driving to the homes of allies of the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Bulatov described his kidnap as “the worst experience I’ve ever had” and said he still suffers severe headaches and dizziness.

Read More Here

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Ukrainian protestor shows scars where he was nailed to a cross when he was crucified by government supporters ‘and forced to declare he was a US spy’

  • Dmytro Bulatov says kidnappers kept him in the dark for more than a week
  • 35-year-old told rescuers he was severely tortured then dumped in forest
  • He has scars from where nails were hammered through both hands
  • Bulatov is a member of Automaidan, an anti-government car owner group
  • Kidnapping is the latest attack on a Ukrainian anti-government protester
  • President Viktor Yanukovych is accused of ‘intimidating the opposition’
  • Attack comes as anti-government protests in Ukraine continue to grow

By Lizzie Parry and John Hall

|

A Ukrainian anti-government activist who fled the country after being abducted said he was tortured and forced to admit he was an American spy.

Dmytro Bulatov, 35, a member of Automaiden – a group of car owners that has taken part in protests against President Viktor Yanukovyvh – went missing on January 22.

He said he was kidnapped, crucified and had part of his ear cut off as his captors forced him to say on camera that he had accepted money from the US Embassy, to organise anti-government protests in the country.

He was discovered outside Kiev yesterday and told rescuers that his kidnappers kept him in the dark for more than a week, beat him severely, nailed him to a cross and sliced off a piece of ear, before eventually dumping him in a forest.

 

Ukrainian opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov holds up his hands to reveal the scars left when kidnappers nailed him to a cross, holding captive for a week

Ukrainian opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov holds up his hands to reveal the scars left when kidnappers nailed him to a cross, holding captive for a week

Bulatov said his captors forced him to admit he was a US spy. He said: 'I was telling them lies just to stop the torture'

Bulatov said his captors forced him to admit he was a US spy. He said: ‘I was telling them lies just to stop the torture’

The 35-year-old told rescuers that his kidnappers kept him in the dark for more than a week, beat him severely, nailed him to a cross and sliced off a piece of his ear

The 35-year-old told rescuers that his kidnappers kept him in the dark for more than a week, beat him severely, nailed him to a cross and sliced off a piece of his ear

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko speaks to Dmytro Bulatov in the Kiev hospital where he is receiving treatment after the alleged kidnapping

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko speaks to Dmytro Bulatov in the Kiev hospital where he is receiving treatment after the alleged kidnapping

Bulatov talks to the media in a hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania. He fled the Ukraine for fear of being prosecuted

Bulatov talks to the media in a hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania. He fled the Ukraine for fear of being prosecuted

Dmytro Bulatov's badly swollen hands appeared to show nail marks from his alleged crucifixion

Dmytro Bulatov’s badly swollen hands appeared to show nail marks from his alleged crucifixion

Opposition leader Petro Poroshenko (right) rushed to the hospital where Bulatov (left) was taken

Opposition leader Petro Poroshenko (right) rushed to the hospital where Bulatov (left) was taken

‘I was telling them lies just to stop the torture… At one point I asked them to kill me because I couldn’t stand it any more,’ said the 35-year-old, speaking at the Vilnius University Emergency Hospital in Lithuania where he is being treated after leaving Ukraine on Sunday.

He said unidentified assailants had driven nails through his hands in a ‘crucifixion’ and had beaten him during a week in captivity.

‘They crucified me, they nailed down my hands. They cut off my ear, they cut my face. There isn’t a spot on my body that hasn’t been beaten…Thank God I am alive,’ Bulatov told Ukraine’s Channel 5.

Footage shows his face and clothes covered in blood and his swollen hands showing nail marks.

EU leaders offered to help the activist after Ukrainian police said they wanted to charge him with taking part in ‘mass disorder’ related to protests consisting of convoys of sometimes hundreds of cars driving up to the homes of allies of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Bulatov described his kidnap as ‘the worst experience I’ve ever had’. He still suffered severe headaches and dizziness.

Video of his bloodied face has been replayed repeatedly on opposition television channels in Ukraine, fuelling anger among protesters occupying main streets and public buildings across the country.

Bulatov said he would not return to Ukraine unless he got guarantees that he will not be prosecuted.

‘I want my government to give guarantees to the international community that I will not be politically prosecuted,’ he said.

‘The government should close all criminal cases against activists, including me, who have taken part in the protests.’

Read More Here

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breakingtheset breakingtheset·

Published on Jan 23, 2014

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Worst of Congress, Georgism, a Police Abuse Round Up, and Snowden’s Q&A.
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FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin
EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on fears by Iraqi officials that the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be gaining enough strength to attack Baghdad. Abby then calls out 6 of the most corrupt and least popular members of congress, going over some of the conflicts of interests and blatant hypocrisy that have come to characterize the 113th Congress. Abby then speaks with Scott Baker, president of Common Ground NYC about the Georgism Philosophy, and how the elimination of all taxes except a land use tax could be applied and sustained. Abby then calls attention to three recent cases of police abuse in the US, including an instance where an officer ruptured a young man’s testicle. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with David Seaman, journalist and host of the David Seaman Hour, going over Edward Snowden’s recent live online Q&A in response to Obama’s speech on the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s global spying apparatus.

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breakingtheset breakingtheset

 

Published on Jan 20, 2014

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Bill Maher Politically Correct, Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, Undocumented Police Brutality, and MLK’s Whitewashed Legacy.
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FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin
EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin calls out TV host Bill Maher for his contemptuous comments regarding Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks as a stunning display of arrogance and ignorance. Abby then remarks on the anniversary of President Eisenhower’s farewell address, citing his warning to the American people of the danger of the military industrial complex. Abby then speaks to RT Correspondent Liz Wahl, about the growing epidemic of police abuse in the US and the lack of official documentation of these statistics. BTS wraps up the show with a discussion on the ‘whitewashing’ of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and speaks with Howard University Professor Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, and Morgan State University Professor Dr. Jared A. Ball, about the aspects of MLK’s life that the corporate media overlooks.

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File:Hinged Handcuffs Rear Back To Back.JPG
Image Source  :  Wikimedia . Org
Author  Skiddie2003
Post-Gazette.com

A Ross woman sued Allegheny County today, claiming that sheriff’s deputies injured her arm and the jail’s former medical provider ignored her complaints, resulting in amputation.

Amy J. Needham, 35, of Ross, was arrested by county sheriffs on April 2, according to the complaint. Her attorney, Marvin Leibowitz, said she was the subject of a warrant because she missed a preliminary hearing on a charge that was ultimately reduced to a disorderly conduct.

When sheriff’s office employees arrived, Ms. Needham said she was using the bathroom, but they broke down the bathroom door, according to the complaint. They shocked her with a Taser, applied arm bars and wrist locks, and put on handcuffs “that were too tight,” the complaint said.

That treatment, according to the complaint, caused “compartment syndrome,” which is increased pressure in a muscle compartment that can damage both muscles and nerves.

Over the course of around a week in jail, according to Mr. Leibowitz, Ms. Needham made 16 requests to see a doctor, but was denied. She was finally hospitalized at UPMC Mercy where her arm was amputated above the elbow, according to the complaint.

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Allegheny County sheriff responds to lawsuit from Ross amputee

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