Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Woman sues cops for shooting her

Macomb Daily : Woman in high-speed chase sues police for shooting her

A woman who was left a paraplegic after being shot several times by Warren police in the moments following a high-speed car chase has accused officers of using excessive force in a lawsuit filed in Macomb County Circuit Court.
The story is complicated, you really need to read the whole article to figure it out. But here's the summary (if I'm capable of boiling down an article, which I doubt.)

Woman gets into a "dispute" at her brother's house. Brother calls cops, says she pointed a gun at him and drove off in her Chevy Malibu. Cops find the Malibu driving down the road, try to pul her over. Woman jackrabbits, reaching speeds of up to 110 miles an hour on the freeway. Cops ahead of her put out 'stop sticks', puncturing her tires. Woman crashes into freeway wall.

Cops approach the wreck, see woman "lying across the front seat with a revolver in her hand". Cops see "smoke or flame" coming out of the barrel of her gun. Cops return fire.

Woman severely wounded (see below) goes to hospital where she's declared a 'paraplegic', eventually. Meanwhile, cops find 400 rounds of ammunition in her car. Woman claimes she kept all of her belongings in the car because she's homeless. Excuse me: "transient".

Here's where it gets complicated.

Woman hires lawyer. Lawyer sues city, saying even though [woman's] brother told police his sister was armed, police "didn't know she had a gun." Also, woman "did not fire her gun first, and even if she did, the police officers' response was excessive."

Brother later tells cops his sister is "bipolar".

Following the incident, Mattera spent 10 months under police guard in William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where an arm was amputated below the elbow, then spent up to 60 days in a state psychiatric center.
Her later statement was that she saw police at her brothers house:

"There were at least 40 or 50 of them," she says. "I did not know they were there for me. There were so many, why would there be? Then I realized and I got scared and I ran."

She says that after her vehicle crashed on I-696, "I stayed in the vehicle and saw them draw their weapons. I got down in the seat of the car because they drew their weapons. They opened fire and I saw the bullets going in and out of the car. I was hit with quite a few of them. I brought out my pistol and I fired in the air and fired wide, not to hit anybody. I saw that it was doing no good, so I quit doing it. They brought out a shotgun and shot my arm off. That was it. It was over."

Right. Okay, who believe this ding-bat's story? Show of hands? (Oops, sorry lady. You're the only one who believes your story, and you're running out of hands.)

I may sound a little insensitive here. I do believe that the woman (let's call her by her name: Carmen Mattera) was hit in the arm by a shotgun blast, and that's probably the reason she's now considered 'paraplegic' . . . the doctors eventually amputated her arm.

I'm sorry she lost her arm, and was so banged up in the car crash. She had enough problems already, having been diagnosed (as it turns out) as a "
paranoid-schizophrenic" a few years before, and having been in and out of psychiatric treatment for ten years.

Now she's suing the cops who stopped her from whatever her fevered mind would have caused her to do, with her revolver and her eight boxes of ammo. Essentially, her claim is that the cops over-reacted.

No, they didn't.

Reading both sides of the story, and allowing that you can't tell WHAT the truth is by what you read in the newspapers, I'm inclined to believe the cops' version. The woman is a dingbat. She finally stepped over the line and threatened people -- her FAMILY -- with a gun. When the cops tried to stop her, SHE over-reacted. They responded with appropriate force, and it's hard to tell why she lived through the experience. As soon as she pointed a gun at a cop, she had forfeited her right to live in a civilized society.

Sorry, this isn't a simple, amusing story about a dingbat who went goofy and sued the cops who were doing their job. There is no punch line about "she got what she deserved" or ""she did that, and then sued the cops for making her face the consequences of her own bad decisions".

And I'm not going to do the "poor little girl" speech, and tell you that the police should have been more understanding of her problems, or celebrate her psychiatric diversity.

I have some history of dingbats with guns. Their sickness may not have been their fault, but you can't reason with a rabid dog and that's what she was.

Sometimes, the family just can't protect each other from their screwy members. Police are suppose to be psychologists, because the people they meet are often deranged in one way or another. The line is drawn, and rightly, when the people they meet are obviously a threat to the health and life of everyone they meet. You can't reason with them. You can only stop them.

Whatever it takes.

Here's the Bottom Line:

In the lawsuit, Mattera accuses police of "oppression and malice" with "reckless indifference and disregard for the plaintiff's physical welfare, safety, life and liberty."

She says police conspired to cover up police misconduct, and the officers intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her and their actions "went beyond the bounds of decency."

She says the city of Warren exhibited "deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons in Warren" by failing to provide proper police response and or stop police from using excessive force.

Oppression and malice? Reckless disregard? Emotional distress? Beyond the bounds of decency? Indifference to rights? Proper response? Excessive force?


This is what her brother must have felt when she pointed a gun at him.

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