A woman is suing several sheriff’s deputies, accusing them of beating her while she was hospitalized, handcuffed and waiting for a CT scan at an emergency room in California.
According to Malia Ashad’s federal lawsuit filed Feb. 1, she was already injured when deputies repeatedly punched her in the head, grabbed her throat and left a boot imprint on her back at the Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center on Aug. 9, 2022.
Ashad, a mother of two children, was first attacked that day at a civil hearing in Alameda County Superior Court on Aug. 9, 2022, according to the lawsuit.
Her accused attacker, a woman she had a restraining order against, repeatedly hit Ashad in the head and face with a cellphone, resulting in Ashad grabbing the woman’s hair “to stop the assault,” a complaint says.
In a video shared by Ashad’s attorneys, body camera footage shows a woman continuously slamming her fist into Ashad’s head as she sat in the courtroom.
Ashad felt relieved when she thought deputies in the courtroom were coming over to rescue her — but then she was attacked by them, said Angel Alexander, one of the attorneys representing her, at a Feb. 1 news conference.
“That relief quickly turned into confusion and panic when (Ashad) was treated as an actual assailant and not the victim,” Alexander said.
An Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputy is accused of forcefully apprehending Ashad, handcuffing her and taking her to a room, where she was “forced” toward a chair in the corner of that room, according to the complaint.
She “lost her balance, hit her head on a nearby table, and fell to the floor” before she “cried out in pain as she lay bleeding from her head and then began to seize before losing consciousness,” the complaint says.
Deputies then told Ashad she was under arrest for assault, and she was taken to Kaiser Permanente’s emergency room in an ambulance, according to the complaint.
There, the deputies are accused of attacking her further.
With her lawsuit, Ashad accuses the deputies of violating her civil rights and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Capt. Tya M. Modeste told McClatchy News on Feb. 1 that the office has only learned of the lawsuit from media inquiries.
“The released clips are a limited and skewed depiction of the incident and do not represent the totality of what occurred,” she said in an emailed statement.
Modeste said Ashad was arrested in August 2022 on a charge of battery on a peace officer/emergency personnel and battery on a person.
The charges against her were ultimately dropped, Robert Frank, a spokesman for Ashad’s legal counsel, told McClatchy News.
In a news release, Alexander said “first, the male deputies viciously attacked Ms. Ashad in the courthouse leaving her bloodied and concussed, then they hauled her off to the hospital where they continued their unnecessary and unreasonable attack.”
Modeste said Ashad received medical treatment, and the department “must reserve further comment on a lawsuit for which we have not received service.”
What happened at the hospital?
After Ashad arrived at the emergency room, a doctor decided she needed a CT scan to “rule out a severe brain injury” and instructed her to change into a hospital gown, according to her attorneys.
However, the deputies are accused of not wanting her to have a CT scan because they needed to take her to the Santa Rita Jail, according to the complaint.
“You’re not taking her to CT; we just need her cleared for incarceration,” one deputy told two nurses, according to the complaint.
The deputies are accused of insisting she didn’t need a medical gown, according to her attorneys.
When she insisted on a gown, they viewed her insistence as her refusing medical treatment, the news release said.
As Ashad was handcuffed to the hospital bed and “sat up in protest,” she was beaten, according to the lawsuit.
One deputy grabbed her throat and pinned her to the hospital bed as another punched her in the head, the complaint says.
The same deputy who punched her “shoved her into a wheelchair” and punched her head again “in an apparent fit of rage,” according to the complaint.
He “continued to brutalize Ms. Ashad by placing his foot onto (her) back” before she was eventually taken to jail without ever getting the CT scan, the complaint says.
The deputies didn’t face discipline after the incident, according to the lawsuit.
“Ultimately, Ms. Ashad was unlawfully denied medical treatment and released to the custody of her tormentors,” the complaint says.
Ashad is demanding a jury trial.
“The level of callousness, brutality and arrogance these deputies displayed is stunning even by their standards,” Alexander said.
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