A mother of three is suing police in Allegheny County, Pa., claiming that they used excessive force during an arrest and that their actions and failure to treat her injuries led to the amputation of her arm.
Amy Needham, 35, claims that police entered her home on April 2, after she didn’t show up to a preliminary hearing on a charge that was reportedly later reduced to disorderly conduct, broke down the bathroom door, shocked her with a Taser and put on tight handcuffs before hauling her off to jail, The Daily Mail reported.
While all of this may seem like standard fare during an arrest, Needham’s attorney, Marvin Leibowitz, claims that his client also suffered from something called “compartment syndrome” as a result of tight handcuffs.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that this condition “occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels.” It leads to a decrease in blood flow, which, in turn, causes a lack of nourishment and oxygen to muscle and nerve cells.
Needham was in jail for about one week following her arrest and, during that time, she reportedly requested to see a doctor 16 times — requests that her attorney said were denied. When she was finally hospitalized, her arm was amputated above the elbow.
Now, she’s suing over the incident, seeking tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
“She feels that her life is ruined,” Leibowitz told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think she’s having psychological problems. You’re 35 years old and you lose your arm.”
Needham, who works in a restaurant and has children between the ages of 5 and 9, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, claiming that she was treated with excessive force, cruel and unusual punishment and battery and negligence, the Post-Gazette reported.
The county has not responded to the lawsuit, but Sheriff Bill Mullen said that there was nothing extraordinary about Needham’s arrest.
“Normal practice for us is if they’re injured we take them to the hospital because the jail won’t take them,” Mullen told the Post-Gazette. “This will all be played out in the courts.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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