Black Tulsa woman sues police for civil rights violations
A civil rights lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officers, the city and Mayor G.T. Bynum by a Black woman who alleges she was attacked and arrested while she was having a mental health crisis.
LaDonna Paris, a 70-year-old great-grandmother, said she was terrified at the time of the October incident.
“I was mocked, taunted and brutalized,” Paris said during a Tuesday news conference and that the video gave her a surreal feeling.
“It was like watching somebody else and I would say to myself when they were doing these things, ‘Oh, poor LaDonna,’” Paris said.
The incident began at Phillips Theological Seminary where Paris was attending graduate school when witnesses called 911 to report concerns over her mental state.
After an ambulance arrived, Paris drove to a nearby store where she locked herself into a bathroom and refused to leave after police arrived, according to the lawsuit.
“In the midst of a bipolar manic episode, which included paranoia and delusions, Ms. Paris was afraid the officers were going to kill her, so she locked herself in the bathroom and would not come out,” the lawsuit states.
Officer Ronni Carrocia, who is white, is seen on police video banging on the door to the bathroom where Paris was inside, according to attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons.
“You want to get tased ... I love my job,” Carrocia said as she turns toward the camera.
“She’s so 85,” Carrocia later, and still on video, said using the police code for a person needing mental health treatment, according to Solomon-Simmons.
“She (Carrocia) did all of this on video, knowing she was on video,” Solomon-Simmons said. “She was so giddy about it, it was disgusting.”
A city spokesperson said the city is aware of the lawsuit, but declined comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit filed in Tulsa County District Court alleges 14 civil rights violations, including excessive use of force, ignoring Paris’ medical needs, ignoring training and assault.
The legal action seeks more than $75,000 in actual damages and unspecified compensation for punitive damages and legal fees.
Paris seeks justice and accountability by the city and police for the officers’ actions, according to Solomon-Simmons.
“We want a judge to say this is not constitutional policing, this is unacceptable,” Solomon-Simmons said.