TOLEDO, Ohio (CN) – Police officers in Lima, Ohio, shocked a black woman in the stomach with a stun gun after she repeatedly told them she was pregnant and then arrested her to cover up the incident, she claims in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Brittany Osberry was forcefully arrested by Lima police officers on Aug. 10, 2016, while trying to pick up her friend’s children from a house that was under police surveillance, according to her complaint filed in Toledo federal court.
Osberry sued Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin and three Lima police officers – Zane Slusher, Aaron Montgomery and Mark Frysinger – for claims of civil rights violations, excessive force, assault and failure to train.
According to incident reports from the Lima Police Department, several Lima police officers had set up a perimeter around the house prior to Osberry’s arrival because they believed a suspect in a drive-by shooting was barricaded inside.
When Osberry pulled her vehicle into the property’s driveway, Frysinger allegedly approached her with his gun drawn and ordered her to leave.
She says she asked why she had to leave and told the officers that she was there to pick up the children, at which point Frysinger forcefully removed her from her vehicle, slammed her against the side of the car and placed her under arrest.
Osberry repeatedly told the officers she was pregnant as Frysinger and Montgomery physically restrained her, the complaint states.
Slusher then approached the vehicle and shocked Osberry in the stomach with his stun gun despite her warnings about the pregnancy, according to the lawsuit, causing her severe physical and emotional injuries.
The officers then allegedly denied Osberry medical treatment and charged her with resisting arrest, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct.
“Plaintiff was wrongfully detained, at the direction and training of defendant Martin, to cover up the abuse and intentional and/or reckless assault and harm caused by the other defendants,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff was further denied medical treatment for her tasing, in the stomach, and medical treatment for her in utero child, by defendant Martin.”
According to local news reports, Osberry’s arrest and detention prompted outcry from the Lima NAACP, who demanded that police drop the charges against her and take disciplinary action against the officers involved in her arrest.
Osberry’s lawsuit also claims police withheld audio and video evidence crucial to Osberry’s criminal defense, only releasing it after Osberry provided a video that was recorded by a bystander standing across the street.
Prosecutors eventually dismissed all charges against Osberry, but Martin declined to discipline the officers, prompting further outrage from the Lima NAACP.
Osberry’s federal lawsuit claims the officers violated her rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by using excessive force, subjecting her to unreasonable search and seizure, and denying her substantive and procedural due process.
She seeks $80,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $80,000 in punitive damages, and is represented by Jason Flower of Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk in Lima.
The Lima Police Department did not immediately respond Wednesday to an emailed request for comment.
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