A woman who says that Newport Beach police assaulted her rather than helped her when they were called in to investigate allegations that she had been raped is suing the city and its police department for $15 million. Her Orange County, California police brutality lawsuit says that local officers grabbed her, struck her legs, and knocked her off her porch, causing her serious facial, arm, and leg injuries.
Among the damages that Suzanne Abrams, now 34, is seeking are $3 million in future income, $1 million in medical costs and lost wages, and $2 million in future medical bills resulting from her injuries from the alleged Newport Beach police brutality incident. She says that the police attack caused her to experience serious mental trauma and pain and develop post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result of her personal injuries, Abrams says she had to check into a psychiatric hospital.
Her Newport Beach police brutality lawsuit states that early on the morning of April 4, 2007, she returned to her home after a date. Police then arrived after receiving a call that Abrams was screaming that she had been raped. Her complaint contends that she became frightened when she saw police and asked them to go. She claims that police assaulted her, neglected to properly evaluate her, and did not do anything to find out whether she'd been raped. They then arrested her and took her to jail, charging her with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. The charges against her were later dropped.
Abrams's civil complaint reports that she went with her dad to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian after he bailed her out of jail and tests she took there indicate that she had ingested a date rape drug. However, lawyers for the City of Newport Beach say that Abrams refused to submit to a rape test. They also dispute Abrams's claim and say that audiotapes of the incident reveal that the Newport Beach police officers were very professional and calm in the way they handled the plaintiff. They contend that it was Abrams who was hostile toward police. The Orange County District Attorney's spokesperson, Farrah Emami, says that the charges against Abrams were warranted but were dropped out of sympathy to her.
California Police Brutality
Any kind of excessive use of force by police is wrong and can be grounds for a California police brutality claim or lawsuit. Some examples of police brutality:
• Assaulting a suspect, a defendant, or a regular civilian
• Verbal intimidation
• Certain situations where Taser use is unnecessary or excessive
• False arrest
• Sexual abuse
• Surveillance abuse
• Verbal abuse
• Racial profiling
Police brutality violates the victim's civil rights and is an abuse of power.
Woman: Police Beat Me, Daily Pilot, May 10, 2009
Newport police reject $15 million lawsuit's brutality claims, OC Register, May 8, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Shielded from Justice, Human Rights Watch