Megan Sheehan admits that she was both drunk and belligerent on the evening of March 17, 2014, but she also thinks that members of the Oakland Police used excessive force when they arrested her. One look at the photo of her the night she was arrested would seem to support her contention.
Sheehan is now suing Oakland police and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) for the beating she received a year ago. As Sheehan remarked:
“I should have never gotten that drunk, but also there are ways to detain someone and not break their face.”
Video of the arrest taken by a surveillance camera at the BART station clearly shows Sheehan screaming and yelling as she is dragged away by officers.
Later, back at the police station, another video reveals that Sheehan has calmed down, but she does continue to disagree verbally with the officers who are talking to her.
The Oakland Police Department alleges that Sheehan began “violently punching” an officer, so he “guided her to the ground.”
But body camera video shows that what two officers actually did was grab Sheehan by the arms and throw her to the ground following a complaint by Sheehan that one of the officers touched her. Sheehan can be seen lying motionless on the floor and there is blood on the ground. One of the officers remarks:
“You might want medical.”
As a result of the officer’s actions, Sheehan suffered four broken facial bones and lost several teeth. She also says she is suffering from psychological issues as a result of what happened that evening in March of 2014.
Sheehan’s attorney, John Scott said:
“They knew by throwing her to the ground without having her hands available to break the fall that she was going to suffer serious head injuries. She was uncooperative. She was intoxicated — and I believe she had to be taught a lesson. In police jargon, she flunked the attitude test.”
When you consider the many cases of police officers using excessive force we have seen recently, it would appear that something needs to change when it comes to how law enforcement officers interact with those they are supposed to serve and protect.
And that change cannot come too soon.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.