This case involves a pregnant woman who was injured during an arrest and transportation. While the officers in question were arresting the woman, she resisted, provoking the officers to use additional force to restrain her. During transport, the woman began to bleed, and cried out for medical attention, but nothing was done to assist her. Once they arrived at the police station, it was noted that she was bleeding profusely but no action was taken to attain the proper medical attention. The day after the incident, the woman suffered a miscarriage. It is alleged that the police officers conducted themselves in an inappropriate and unethical manner during the arrest and transportation of the plaintiff to the police station. An expert in law enforcement was sought to discuss the standard of care when an arrest is being made.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in law enforcement as it relates to the arrest and transportation of an arrestee or inmate.
- 2. What is the protocol for officers when an inmate/arrestee requires medical treatment and/or hospitalization for injuries sustained in an arrest and/or transport?
Expert Witness Response E-137078
I have 34 years of law enforcement experience. In short, I’ve trained and supervised police officers, conducted and supervised criminal and internal investigations, written police policy, served on the state correctional training commission, been the commander of the two largest state police training divisions, and oversaw all internal and criminal investigations for the division of corrections. Since, I have been certified by the state and U.S. District courts as an expert witness in police investigations, use of force, training, policy, and practices. In addition to working the road as a state trooper where I conducted hundreds of arrest and relative transports as trained, I was a field training officer responsible for training and evaluating new state troopers. Later in my career, I became the head of training for the state police and city police departments responsible for policy, training and necessary relative reforms. Finally, for four years as a state police detective sergeant, I conducted and or supervised all internal investigations for the division of corrections, to include investigations surrounding prisoner transports.
My initial thoughts are that in general, police officers are trained that once they arrest an individual, they are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the arrestee, mainly because you have revoked their liberty and opportunity to care for themselves. Also, I know of no police department that does not have a policy requiring the arresting and transporting officer (whoever has custody of the arrestee) to provide immediate medical attention once injuries are known, or when the arrestee reports an illness and request medical attention. With the injuries being obvious and not tended to, minimally this is gross negligence, maybe even criminal.
Resulting from an increased number of in-custody deaths over the past few decades, holding cell cameras have become not only popular but a safety necessity. In my professional opinion, a police department or detention facility would be negligent in not equipping a holding facility with video monitoring. The data clearly reflects its life-saving value when installed and used properly. Generally, department policy requires the responsible parties (transport officer and or arresting officer or supervisor) to seek and provide immediate medical treatment to the arrestee/inmate by a trained medical practitioner. This can be accomplished by onsite personnel, paramedics capable of responding to the location of the injured party or transporting the injured party to the nearest hospital or emergency treatment center.
Expert Witness Response E-037434
I have been a police officer for 30+ years. In the course of my duties, I have effected many arrests and transported those arrestees to my police station, other police stations, central holding facilities and correctional institutions. As a supervisor (Sgt.) and a manager (Lt., Capt. and now a Maj.), I have handled transports to support my officers and I have oversight to ensure that these procedures are handled appropriately. It is common practice to have cameras monitoring holding cells in order for officers to be able to monitor and record the actions and well-being of those in custody, for whom we are responsible. In my home state, and I assume anywhere else in the U.S., when an inmate/arrestee either asks for or can be seen to require medical treatment, officers are responsible for contacting emergency medical assistance, i.e. an ambulance, to respond and assist. On scene, the medical personnel evaluates and treat as necessary to include transport to medical facilities if necessary. The arrestee, if deemed competent by the medical personnel, may refuse treatment or transport. In sum, once arrested, the officer is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the person in custody. I have reviewed a case or two in my agency where a complainant has alleged that an officer refused to get treatment for a prisoner. We have cameras in the cells and we have had no sustained cases of that in my time.