Two Pineville Police Department officers disregarded and shocked a 68-year-old woman when she said arthritis prevented her from putting her hands behind her back during a 2021 arrest, according to a federal lawsuit.
Alexandria attorney Jermaine Harris filed the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Patricia Robinson, who was being cited with improper lane usage in a Dec. 9, 2021, car crash on Melrose Street.
Robinson, then 68, disagreed with Officer Elizabeth Cameron's decision, but the lawsuit states she agreed to accept the ticket. But she refused to sign it because she disagreed, it reads. She called the department and asked for another officer to come to the scene.
At some point, Officer Codiak Thompson arrived. Both officers yelled at Robinson to put her hands behind her back, it reads.
"Plaintiff Robinson put her hands up and defendant Thompson put a handcuff on her left wrist," according to the lawsuit. "Defendant Cameron then began to forcefully twist plaintiff Robinson’s right arm in an attempt to place plaintiff Robinson’s arm behind her back. Plaintiff Robinson screamed and told the officers that she could not put her arms behind her back due to joint pain from arthritis."
The lawsuit names the two officers and the city of Pineville as defendants. It does not state the city or community where Robinson lives, only that she's a Rapides Parish resident.
The suit asserts that Thompson told her she was resisting arrest and again told her to put her hands behind her back. Robinson again said she couldn't because of her arthritis, it reads.
Robinson was slammed to the ground at this point, it continues, while Thompson put his knees on her back and Cameron pressed her head to the ground. Robinson told the officers they were hurting her and begged her for help from her disabled son, who was in their vehicle.
The officers told the son to get back in the car.
"Plaintiff Robinson suffers from atrial fibrillation, end-stage arthritis in both knees and obesity," the lawsuit says. "Plaintiff Robinson also suffers from other various physical ailments. In addition, plaintiff Robinson uses a cane and a walker to move around."
The lawsuit also states Robinson told the officers she couldn't breathe and asked to be let up off the ground. Thompson yelled at her and told her to stop resisting or be shocked and "then defendant Thompson immediately (shocked) plaintiff Robinson."
Thompson shocked Robinson a second time shortly after that, the lawsuit contends. She begged them not to shoot her and told them she'd sign the ticket if they'd let her stand up.
The officers picked her up off the ground, it reads.
"Plaintiff Robinson asked defendants Cameron and Thompson how they would feel if their mother or grandmother was treated this way and prayed for them."
A third Pineville officer arrived, and he recognized Robinson as a teacher. According to the lawsuit, he removed the handcuffs and allowed Robinson to be handcuffed with her hands in front of her.
Robinson was booked at the department, it reads. Her husband took her to Christus St. Francis Cabrini Hospital for treatment after she was released.
The lawsuit listed injuries Robinson allegedly suffered, including knee, wrist, neck, shoulder and back pains. It stated she also suffers from severe emotional distress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares and feelings of anger, guilt and paranoia.
"Plaintiff Robinson is now fearful whenever she sees police officers or police cars," it reads.
The lawsuit accuses the officers of using excessive and unreasonable force and asserts neither are entitled to be shielded under qualified immunity, the legal principle that protects public servants from liability as they perform their jobs.
It claims that, under Louisiana law, both officers assaulted and battered Robinson and intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress on her.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys fees and more. It seeks a jury trial to be held in the case. No court dates have been set yet.
This article originally appeared on Alexandria Town Talk: Lawsuit: Pineville officers assaulted, battered 68-year-old woman