A Philadelphia woman who claims she was forced to urinate on herself after officers who arrested her for DUI refused to let her use the bathroom during booking has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and the individual officers involved in her arrest.
Philadelphia attorneys Jeffrey R. Lessin and Mark T. Richter filed the civil action March 8 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Crystal Hall.
The four police officers named as defendants in the suit are identified only as John Does 1 through 4.
According to the complaint, Hall was picked up for driving under the influence of alcohol on Nov. 12, 2011 following a one-vehicle accident in which Hall was the only one involved.
Hall, who was uninjured during the accident, was transported to police headquarters where she was booked for DUI, the suit states.
While awaiting transfer to a jail cell, Hall requested to use the bathroom, a request that went ignored by attending officers, the lawsuit claims.
Hall was then forced to relieve herself, the suit claims, all the while “yelling at the surrounding officers for forcing her to do so.”
At this point, the four officers began to “pummel and beat” Hall, while she was handcuffed, to the point that the woman suffered a skull fracture near her eye, an injury that required surgical repair and caused permanent damage to her vision, the lawsuit claims.
The complaint accuses the defendant police officers of “reckless, outrageous and intentional misconduct” when they used unnecessary and unreasonable force against Hall.
The lawsuit claims that the incident caused Hall to incur substantial medical bills, caused her to suffer physical and psychological harm and saw to it that she would be unable to attend to her usual duties and activities in the future.
The suit also claims that as a result of the incident, Hall has suffered mental anguish and embarrassment, humiliation and damage to her personal reputation.
The lawsuit accuses the City of Philadelphia of being indifferent to a pattern of abuse and the use of excessive force on the part of its police officers.
The suit claims the city has failed to monitor officers who suffer from emotional or psychological problems, and failed to identify and take remedial or disciplinary action against police officers who were subject to prior civilian or internal complaints of misconduct.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating Hall’s civil rights. It also accuses the defendants of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hall seeks compensatory damages in excess of $100,000 and punitive damages in excess of $100,000. She also seeks to be reimbursed for the cost of the lawsuit.
A jury trial has been demanded.
The federal case ID number is 2:12-cv-01219-MSG.