Can I Sue the Police for Denying Me Medical Treatment?

By Jonathan Blecher on January 22, 2020

The US. Court of Appeals in the Tenth Circuit seems to think so. Mark Moralez, a Las Cruces, New Mexico police officer, challenged a district court’s decision to deny him summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity from two of Plaintiff Warren McCowan’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims. Those claims alleged that the officer: (1) used excessive force against McCowan while driving him to the police station after having arrested him for drunk driving; and (2) was deliberately indifferent to McCowan’s serious medical needs (his injured shoulders) while at the police station, before transporting McCowan to the county detention center where medical care was available. McCowan based his excessive-force claim on his assertion that Officer Moralez placed McCowan in the back seat of a patrol car, handcuffed behind his back and unrestrained by a seatbelt, and then drove recklessly to the police station, knowing his driving was violently tossing McCowan back and forth across the backseat. This rough ride, McCowan contended, injured his shoulders, after McCowan had advised the officer before the trip to the station that he had a previous shoulder injury. McCowan’s second claim alleged that Officer Moralez was deliberately indifferent to McCowan’s serious medical needs by delaying McCowan’s access to medical care until he arrived at the county detention center. The Tenth Circuit affirmed as to both counts; the allegations alleged a clearly established violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision to deny Officer Moralez qualified immunity.

Often, police will be indifferent to an arrestee’s injuries, as here. Sometimes that may even claim the injuries were the result of resisting arrest.

That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer with years of experience who knows how to carefully attend to his clients’ needs. Contact me, Jonathan Blecher, P.A., so I can help you fight resisting arrest charges.

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