An American woman is $2.4 million richer after a Colorado county paid her the large sum over an unlawful arrest during a welfare check at a sober living facility in CaĂ±on City.
Fremont County paid the sum last week to Carolyn OâNeal after she sued the sheriffâs office for unlawfully arresting her while she was naked inside her apartment in May 2014.
Deputies had responded due to concerns she might harm herself, the Denver Post reported.
OâNeal told three responding male deputies she wasnât going to hurt herself and was naked while preparing a bath but the officers used a key to enter her apartment and tossed her onto a bed before arresting her, the newspaper reported.
OâNeal was still naked when she was taken to jail, where she was put in a restraint chair for several hours. Deputies also twice used a Taser on the woman despite her arms and legs being restrained at the time and being forced to wear a spit mask, according to the report.
âThis was an outrageous case,â OâNealâs attorney, David Lane, told the Denver Post on Sunday.
âLaw enforcement officers who believed they were above the law got smacked down hard by a jury. And unfortunately, this costs the taxpayers of Fremont County a lot of money. But I hope it inspires the citizenry to demand accountability from law enforcement â otherwise, itâs coming out of their pockets.â
A jury initially awarded OâNeal $3.6 million last year in her wrongful arrest lawsuit against the Fremont County Sheriffâs Office, but the amount was later reduced by a federal judge to roughly $2.1 million, prompting appeals from both sides, the Denver Post reported.
County officials later agreed to drop their appeal and settle with OâNeal for $2.4 million, Lane told the newspaper.
Charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest that OâNeal had faced were previously dismissed by a judge. Deputies have since admitted that she should have been taken to a hospital rather than a jail, KDVR reported.
âThe police were called by management, her mother was dying, she was depressed and she made some offhand statement about âthings are going so great, I feel like I should drive my car off a cliff,ââ Lane recalled OâNeal saying prior to her arrest.
OâNeal suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues, OâNeal told KDVR.
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