AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — A woman who was helping her sister in an apartment dispute claims in a $50 million lawsuit that police near Austin, Texas, falsely arrested her, subjected her to a brutal sexual assault and forced sedation, and denied her a rape test and bail.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Austin federal court, Jane Doe sued the cities of Pflugerville and Austin and a number of their police officers; Travis County and some of its sheriff’s deputies; the Texas Department of Public Safety and its officers; and the Austin-Travis County EMS.
Other named defendants are St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, Roscoe Properties and Kim Trigo.
Doe, who is from Los Angeles County, California, claims the incident began on July 29, 2015, at the 1825 Place apartments in Pflugerville, Texas, where her sister lived. The sister had reportedly made complaints about the apartment complex to its manager, Trigo.
Trigo then allegedly called the Pflugerville Police Department, and Officers Kyle Dimmitt, Oscar Lopez, Kevin Rowley, Jermain Williams, R. Kauff, Stewart Welch and Brandon Woodard responded to the call.
A week before the incident, Doe’s sister had two seizures and “Rowley and Kauff should have known of the delicate nature of her mental state,” according to the 53-page lawsuit.
Doe says she called the police department to complain after she observed Rowley “interacting with her sister in a manner that was harassing, unnecessary, dangerous and illegal.”
She was allegedly told by the internal affairs division of the Pflugerville PD to retrieve the four-digit ID numbers from the police vehicles at the scene for her complaint.
She then left her sister’s apartment to get the numbers from the police vehicles and told Officer Dimmitt she would report him to internal affairs for harassing her sister, the complaint states. She says Dimmitt became agitated and told her in a loud and aggressive manner that he would arrest her if she continued walking away from him.
“Plaintiff continued walking toward the remaining police vehicles when Dimmitt ran toward her from behind, wrapped his right leg around both of plaintiff’s legs and forced her face first onto the hot asphalt parking lot,” the lawsuit states. “Dimmitt squeezed the back of plaintiff’s head, forced her face into the asphalt, jammed his knee into her back (thereby trapping plaintiff’s right arm under her), groped plaintiff’s breast, and handcuffed plaintiff’s left wrist.” (Parentheses in original.)
Doe alleges that when she started to scream loudly to attract attention to Dimmitt’s alleged use of excessive force, he “began awkwardly yelling ‘stop resisting’ for the benefit of the camera.” Dimmitt refused to give a “reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity or define an illegal act,” she says.
She claims that Dimmitt and the other officers then conducted an illegal search of her purse, did not read her Miranda rights and violently placed her in Dimmitt’s police vehicle. She passed out in the vehicle from the stress and her elevated blood sugar, according to the complaint.
Doe says that after she lost consciousness, Pflugerville police dragged her out of the cruiser, left her on the hot asphalt, mocked and shamed her, and forced a mask on her head in an Austin-Travis County EMS vehicle. She alleges that police directed EMS personnel to give her a sedative without her consent before she was taken to St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.
While at St. David’s, Doe claims Pflugerville police told medical personnel to administer more sedatives to her without her permission and in spite of her elevated blood sugar levels.
“Plaintiff received a total of three separate injections without her consent, and with clear instructions from plaintiff that they were not authorized to administer any medical treatment, and without any advice or consultation,” according to the lawsuit.
St. David’s released Doe to Pflugerville and/or Austin police officers at about 10:48 p.m. that evening, she says.
Doe’s lawsuit alleges that she was raped and assaulted by Pflugerville and/or Austin police officers during her transport from St. David’s to Travis County Jail
“During that two hour transport, plaintiff was sexually assaulted and battered while plaintiff was still suffering from heavy sedatives administered by the St. David’s Defendants. Plaintiff was raped by members of the Pflugerville PD and/or Austin PD,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff is informed and believes that she was also raped and physically assaulted by members of the Pflugerville PD and/or Austin PD by use of tools and devices.”
Doe says she was in a confused mental state during the booking process at the county jail because of the heavy sedatives. When she woke up, she became aware of severe abdominal pain and noticed anal bleeding, according to the lawsuit.
“Plaintiff at that moment believed she had been sexually assaulted, battered, and raped prior to being delivered to Travis County Jail,” she says.
Doe alleges that medical staff and jail personnel refused her multiple demands for a rape kit test despite her symptoms and statements that she had been raped.
“At all times relevant, the Travis defendants, Austin defendants, and [Department of Public Safety] defendants intentionally and/or negligently ignored, denied and completely failed to take any action to investigate and take the legally mandatory actions to preserve evidence and investigate the statements, demands, and symptoms of plaintiff,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff suffered severe physical injury to her vagina, anus, and body in general and continues to suffer severe mental and emotional distress and anxiety.”
Doe also says that she was denied the right to post bail on August 31, 2015, and had to stay in jail for five extra days. She was allegedly put in lockdown for two days because she reported the rape.
“After plaintiff was released from the Del Valle Correctional Complex, defendants intentionally and/or negligently failed to investigate the facts of the assaults, batteries and rape of plaintiff,” the lawsuit says.
Doe seeks general damages of $10 million for claims of excessive force, assault and battery, negligence, emotional distress, false arrest, false imprisonment and due process violations.
She also wants $40 million in punitive damages, and is represented by Lisa G. Hood in Dallas.
The state of Texas, through the attorney general’s office, said it cannot comment on pending litigation.
Roscoe Properties and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said they were unaware of the lawsuit and had not been served notice of it.
None of the other defendants responded to email requests for comment.