New Procedures Required to Prevent Repeat of Incident Where Deputies Tased and Beat Severely Disabled Young Woman

Alameda County sheriff's deputies were at a facility for the care of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness when those deputies intervened in a situation where trained staff were calming down a young woman in crisis. The young woman has the mental capacity of a four year old child. The deputies pushed aside staff, and Tased and beat the young woman into submission. Then despite learning what was going on, they arrested and took her to jail. The young woman was release after three days and all charges against her were dismissed. Haddad & Sherwin sued the deputies and the Sheriffs Department for civil rights violations. In addition to winning a settlement for this young woman which included Alameda County paying $160,000 into a trust fund for her and paying her legal fees separately, Haddad & Sherwin insisted that the Sheriffs Department agree in writing to new procedures for when deputies may be called to that facility again. Now, deputies may not intervene in a medical crisis like this without first talking to staff, and deputies are required to be trained and use de-escalation tactics on such an impaired person to avoid the need for any force.

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  • $160K for stun gunning at mental center
    Henry K. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleDecember 19, 2012

    Alameda County has agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by an 18 year old developmentally disabled woman who accused sheriff's deputies of using excessive force when they tackled her and shocked her with a stun gun at a Castro Valley mental health center. The victim, Sapreena Fowler, has the mental capacity of a 4 year old. The settlement money will be placed in a special trust for Fowler, said her attorney Julia Sherwin. As part of the settlement, the sheriff's office has amended its protocol for deputies responding to the center, reminding them to speak quietly to those who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled and to "give them time to calm down," Sherwin said. "Deputies Robson and Johnson ignored their training and abused this vulnerable young woman when she most needed help," Sherwin said.

  • $160,000 Settlement Plus New Written Procedures After Sheriff's Deputies Tase and Beat Severely Disabled Young Woman
    Alameda County sheriff's deputies were at a facility for the care of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness when those deputies intervened in a situation where trained staff were calming down a young woman in crises. The young woman has the mental capacity of a four year old child. The deputies pushed aside staff, and Tased and beat the young woman into submission. Then despite learning what was going on, they arrested and took her to jail. The young woman was released after three days and all charges aginst her were dismissed. Haddad & Sherwin sued the deputies and the Sheriff's Department for civil rights violations. Alameda County eventually agreed to settle the case, paying $160,000 into a trust fund for the young woman, paying her legal fees separately, and agreeing to new written procedures for when deputies may be called to that facility again.