Paralyzed Vet Sues Over Lockup Nightmare

     MEDFORD, Ore. (CN) – A paraplegic veteran says he lost his home, his dog, his car and a significant amount of what little muscle mobility he has left during his month in jail on domestic violence charges that were later dropped.

     Dennis Hooper aka Dennis Resch, who is paralyzed from the waist down, says he was arrested in January 2009 on a domestic violence charge.
     His “female companion” told police that Hooper grabbed her, threw her over his lap and beat her until she escaped, the veteran claims in Federal Court. But Hooper says he was knocked from his wheelchair and “bore bruising and injuries.”
     “There is little evidence that Mr. Hooper was the aggressor,” the lawsuit states.
     He claims police arrested him without letting him make arrangements for the care of his medical assistance dog, Daisy. He allegedly asked Independent Living Specialist Carol Samuleson to check on his dog.
     Hooper says Samuleson found a note on the door of his Rogue River apartment explaining that someone had handed Daisy over to Jackson County Animal Control.
     Hooper says he asked a friend, Chris Balogh, to try to adopt the dog for him. Balogh called the county repeatedly, but county agents allegedly told him Daisy had to remain in county custody for a certain number of days before she could be adopted. On the appointed day, Balogh arrived half an hour after Animal Control opened and was told that someone had already adopted Daisy.
     Meanwhile, Hooper says his landlady evicted him, claiming he let his pet damage his apartment while he was gone.
     At the Jackson County Jail, Hooper was not allowed to take medications he brought from home, which help control his bladder, the lawsuit states. County agents also gave him oversized catheters and put him in a cell without lighting, forcing him to painfully catheterize himself using light from the hallway, Hooper says.
     He says he sometimes lost control of his bladder as a result. But he claims jail officials refused to provide clean clothes or a wheelchair-accessible shower, telling him that those problems “cannot be grieved,” and that if the “jail does not meet your standards … you might like to make some different life choices.”
     Jail officials also allegedly refused to let him see a specialist from the Veteran’s Administration for his usual treatments: stretching muscles to avoid wasting and checking for bedsores and infections.
     Hooper says he was released after one month in jail. All charges were dropped, but he had lost his home, his dog and a significant amount of muscle mobility, and his car had been stolen.
     Michelle Burrows is representing Hooper in his $6 million civil rights lawsuit against a slew of police officers, jail officials and animal control officers.

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