snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Police Blotter

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 21 April 2018, 05:27 PM
Plurabelle's Avatar
Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,045
Default How Plausible is it to Sue a Police Department for false arrest and detainment?

I fell down the stairs and broke my leg (we have been meaning to install a railing on that staircase since we moved in, but never got around to it and with a cat underfoot, down I went).

I had to call 911 because the bone was poking out (i.e. I was not going to drive) and while my husband was home, he had to go to work.

911 arrived, and the police officers who sometimes come along promptly arrested DH for DV, despite my vehement protests, and barred him from our house. I initially I couldn't stay at our house because I needed a one story house, and so we had to board all our animals. Plus, he was not allowed to contact me - when you share finances and an ongoing immigration case, that is a hardship at least.

The judge dismissed the case outright a month later based on my testimony, but that took a month.

Besides lawyer fees, we had to pay a few thousand dollars to take care of the animals.
Any recourse here?

A few ambulance changers are sniffing around but seriously, this leg break cost us almost $10k, before the medical fees.

Ideas?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 21 April 2018, 07:52 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
Join Date: 31 July 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,815
Default

IANAL. From what my preliminary research on false arrest shows, it's only false arrest if the people holding a person in custody don't have the authority to make an arrest (which police do) or if there is no probable cause. This might be where you could argue with them, but I don't know how well you would do in front of a judge.

Police have to rely on more than just what people tell them at the scene. They were probably (correctly) trained that many DV victims will try to cover for their spouse and the police in your case must have found the circumstances suspicious enough they felt they had probable cause to take him into custody.

I think that to win, you would have to convince the judge/jury that the police were acting in bad faith and that absolutely nothing about your fall could in any way be interpreted as anything but purely accidental. Which I think would be a hard thing to do because most people are going to trust police officers' perceptions and decisions to proceed on the side of caution when presented with a potential dv case.

So to answer your question in this case, probably not very plausible that you will get an outcome that you like, IMO.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 21 April 2018, 08:22 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,485
Default

I think it depends largely on what the arresting police officer claims to have used as probable cause.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21 April 2018, 09:01 PM
Plurabelle's Avatar
Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,045
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I think it depends largely on what the arresting police officer claims to have used as probable cause.
I have bruises all over me because I'm fair and do pretty intense sports, and my doctor has had me on aspirince of the leg.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 21 April 2018, 09:44 PM
Esprise Me's Avatar
Esprise Me Esprise Me is offline
 
Join Date: 02 October 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,785
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
I had to call 911 because the bone was poking out (i.e. I was not going to drive) and while my husband was home, he had to go to work.

911 arrived, and the police officers who sometimes come along promptly arrested DH for DV, despite my vehement protests, and barred him from our house.
I'm confused. When you say you had to call 911, do you mean you, specifically, had to make the call because your husband had to go? Or just that 911 had to be called because he couldn't take you to the hospital himself? But he was able to wait with you until the ambulance came?

ETA: also, what sports are you playing?

Last edited by Esprise Me; 21 April 2018 at 09:54 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 21 April 2018, 11:09 PM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 21,128
Default

I have many of the same questions but I also want to know the nature of your husband's job in which "my wife just broke her leg" is not an acceptable excuse for being late or taking the day off.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 22 April 2018, 01:18 AM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,485
Default

Not just a broken leg, but the bone was poking through. I'm wondering why he didn't at least make the 911 call.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23 April 2018, 09:38 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,577
Default

Yeah, a compound fracture can easily become life-threatening. I wouldn't leave any person in the world alone with the bone sticking out.

I'm sure your testimony included some answer to Cervus's question but my imagination fails me. Which leads me to the same conclusion as in the many threads where we've discussed the previous events (and it sure as heck isn't suing the police).
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23 April 2018, 11:20 AM
kitap's Avatar
kitap kitap is offline
 
Join Date: 20 January 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 9,765
Whalephant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
I have many of the same questions but I also want to know the nature of your husband's job in which "my wife just broke her leg" is not an acceptable excuse for being late or taking the day off.
I knew someone whose manager didn't let her leave when she got the call of her mother unexpectedly dying (she quit and left), so I can see some other idiot manager being all "you WILL be here".
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23 April 2018, 11:57 AM
Kallah's Avatar
Kallah Kallah is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2004
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 2,590
Default

This is a dangerous pattern that has only escalated over time based on the information that you yourself have provided to us. A pattern of you getting seriously injured and your husband doing nothing helpful or supportive about it.

At the best this is serious neglect and emotional abuse.
At the worst he is also the one injuring you.

Either way you need to get out of there before this pattern turns deadly. PM me if you like and we can look for local resources to help you find a way out; there's others on these forums who are far more qualified to help you find that information, but the offer is there. Make sure to consider the three Ss and how they relate to your situation: Get out of there soon, but only in a way that is safe for you and any dependents and which is sustainable. Know that you are not alone.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23 April 2018, 02:28 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,516
Glasses

Plurabelle,
Does your jurisdiction have a law that says the police must arrest if they suspect domestic violence? Many jurisdictions do (because for a long time, police did not treat DV seriously, and would not arrest even when it was obvious DV had occurred).

IMO, the odds are they were acting within the scope of their job, and you have no hope of successfully suing them.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 23 April 2018, 04:14 PM
Keeper of the Mad Bunnies's Avatar
Keeper of the Mad Bunnies Keeper of the Mad Bunnies is offline
 
Join Date: 07 January 2003
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,251
Default

Well, I could not find a definitive answer in the statute, but have gleaned the following from some attorney's websites:

Quote:
For most crimes, police are required to obtain an arrest warrant from a magistrate or judge before they are able to arrest someone they believe is guilty of a crime. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, and one of the exceptions is in domestic assault cases. Officers do not have to witness the assault to make the arrest.

All they need is reasonable cause to believe the assault occurred, and that the suspect and victim are engaged in a domestic relationship. Because it becomes quite easy to arrest someone for domestic violence, what our criminal defense attorneys often see is an alleged aggressor being taken to the police station any time the police respond to a domestic violence call.
Quote:
A “no-contact” provision can be imposed on the accused during a pending criminal trial for a domestic violence charge. This bond condition means that a defendant cannot personally, or via a third party, contact, call, or write to the alleged victim – or any related parties deemed as “no contact” by the judge – in any way, shape, or form for the duration of the criminal case.

This provision is a common condition of a bond for defendants who have been charged with domestic violence. It protects the alleged victim if the defendant is released from jail while the charge is pending. Any violation of this bond condition could result in the judge revoking the bond, in which case the defendant would remain in jail until the trial is complete.
So, I would say that the police and court were acting within their right and power and you would not have any recourse. Especially if the police officer got the impression (right or wrong) that your husband was more concerned with getting to work than your treatment for the leg. You could always consult an attorney that specializes in the field to be certain.

If there really isn't abuse in this relationship, then you may want to consult a good attorney to determine a strategy to mitigate the assumption (documentation from physicians as to easy bruising, etc.) in the future. The attorney would also be able to speed up the timeline in any future police interventions to clear up the matter. (If there is abuse, find an attorney to guide you out of the relationship and keep you safe)

As painful and costly this has been for you, I would prefer the police to err on the side of protection in a possible domestic violence situation.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 23 April 2018, 06:21 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
Join Date: 28 June 2005
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 5,279
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I'm confused. When you say you had to call 911, do you mean you, specifically, had to make the call because your husband had to go? Or just that 911 had to be called because he couldn't take you to the hospital himself? But he was able to wait with you until the ambulance came?
Just a nitppick- and this is not an official medical opinion- but although I would probably drive my wife to the hospital, I think that the wiser course would usually* be calling 911 if the bone is sticking out. And to clarify, I am not saying that it is smart for me to drive because I am a doctor, just that I probably would not make the wiser choice. Do as I say, not as I do sort of thing.

This has nothing to do with the discussion about staying with her, riding in the ambulance/following in my car.

*ETA: Usually because it depends on response times in your area, how far everything is, etc. I live in a suburb about 3 miles from the rescue squad, not up a mountain road, etc. YMMV (literally).

Last edited by Dr. Dave; 23 April 2018 at 06:26 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 28 April 2018, 02:27 AM
Plurabelle's Avatar
Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,045
Default

Thank you all for your replies--all well-reasoned and sound. Unfortunately I've had to have a few more surgeries (my body keeps pushing out all the screws the orthopedist puts in) and so I've been a bit out of it and not very proactive.

Ultimately, I think you guys are right that I'd rather the cops err on the side of prosecuting abuse, plus all the other arguments which I am not planning to ignore, but I'm just wiped out. And that while I'm not abused, my husband's ignorance is an issue (the fracture grew over days -- it didn't start poking out, that was what convinced me that my pain was important). And it's a pattern, and I am going to hell if I don't FINALLY recognize that my priorities need to be reset or it's over.

And yes, in the fields my husband works in, "my wife had a broken leg" is not a legit excuse.

Working on a more thoughtful, thorough reply but wanted to thank you all for your perspectives. I apologize it took as long as it did.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 29 April 2018, 01:21 AM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,529
Vanishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
And that while I'm not abused, my husband's ignorance is an issue (the fracture grew over days -- it didn't start poking out, that was what convinced me that my pain was important). And it's a pattern, and I am going to hell if I don't FINALLY recognize that my priorities need to be reset or it's over.
Do you mean to say you fell down the stairs, broke your leg, and the fracture grew over the course several days until the bone was poking through your leg? Was it even being treated before that?

Because that’s double-plus concerning if this was a days-long thing and you were presumably in pain the whole time.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 30 April 2018, 12:03 AM
Plurabelle's Avatar
Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,045
Default

It was not being treated before that, but nobody believed I had actually broken my leg. They thought I had sprained it and gave me an ace bandage, and treated my pain cries as me being begging for narcotics.

I went to the hospital several times and it wasn't until the bone poked out that they actually listened to me. I had doctors telling me they were refusing to admit me for a "fake broken leg".

They didn't xray me until the bone came out, despite my requests. My husband did what he could to help me but the establishment didnt want to listen.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 30 April 2018, 12:08 AM
Veruca's Avatar
Veruca Veruca is offline
 
Join Date: 07 August 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 994
Default



The hospital you went to had you walking around on a broken leg for days? I don't know, maybe that's the potential lawsuit here. Kidding but not really?

Important note: I know nothing about lawsuits, malpractice, or the law in general.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 30 April 2018, 12:17 AM
Plurabelle's Avatar
Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,045
Default

I'm pretty sure they made me sign something promising not to sue. But yeah, and I kept explaining the agony and they cared no a whit
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 30 April 2018, 01:23 AM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,485
Default

That's terrible. Different doctors at the same hospital? I think I would have gone to a different hospital or a ready-care type place. There's something wrong with that hospitals procedures.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 30 April 2018, 02:25 AM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
Join Date: 31 July 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,815
Default



This is so bizarre. Basically, you're saying that professionals in two different fields failed to believe you when you said you fell down the stairs. First the doctors, then the police.

Was this hospital in the US?

I've been into ERs a number of times with injuries that just turned out to be sprains. I complained, the doctor said, hmm, that may be a broken bone, let's take an X-ray. It's not like it costs them money to take a picture of your bones. Even doctors who suspect drug-seeking behavior tend to first rule out actual trauma and injury unless it's an injury that won't show up in tests. But even then, some will try. Because not ordering the test opens them up to a malpractice suit.

Hell, I've had doctors order X-rays even when they knew there was nothing broken just to see what was going on. Again, it doesn't cost them anything to run a test, and it actually benefits the hospital.

As for signing papers not to sue, I'm sure any lawyer who deals with malpractice can fix that. You were probably compromised because of pain and/or drugs if what you're representing here is how it happened.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Police Release Arrest Video of Man Suspected of Stealing His Own Car Avril Police Blotter 3 16 January 2017 09:41 PM
Portland police arrest man accused of kicking police horse A Turtle Named Mack Police Blotter 2 11 July 2014 08:48 PM
LPD: Libertarian Police Department Simply Madeline Fun House 0 03 April 2014 06:50 PM
Grandma's letter to police department Jenn Fauxtography 7 22 December 2009 08:56 PM
Bloods initiation story is false, state police say snopes Crime 0 16 May 2007 06:32 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.