SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The attorney for a woman who had both her legs amputated is saying his client had her rights violated when she was arrested by police.
Mark DiCowden is representing Mary Brown. The pair plan to sue after DiCowden said Brown was battered and had her civil rights violated when she fell to the ground while police attempted to arrest her for panhandling, Saturday.
Thursday, police released body camera footage from the incident, where they said, the arrest was appropriate.
“She was obviously mishandled by law enforcement,” DiCowden said. “What happened shouldn’t have happened to her or anybody else.”
Brown lost both her legs to diabetes. DiCowden said Brown wasn’t panhandling at the Chevron gas station on Southwest 268th Street and 127th Avenue in Southwest Miami-Dade. Instead, he said, Brown was waiting for a friend.
“Everything that unfolded from there was absolutely with disrespect and without dignity to her person,” DiCowden said.
Brown did not want to comment Friday morning but told 7News earlier this week that she asked the officers to help her off the ground over and over again.
“Because I don’t have legs to move about like everybody else. I still was in my chair, and I deserved some respect,” Brown said.
The Miami-Dade Police department director reviewed the video and released a statement that read in part, “As a result, I’ve directed staff to contact organizations for disabled persons to ensure our officers are utilizing current best practices when dealing with individuals requiring special assistance.”
DiCowden believes that’s something that should have already been handled.
“The director and all in law enforcement should have had training from day one on how to deal with any sort of situation that they might come across with someone with any sort of disability such as Miss Brown.”
DiCowden hopes this leads to that change but also wants to see Brown compensated fairly.
“Miss Brown will send a message to the entire world and to local law enforcement that you cannot treat the disabled with the disrespect that she experienced,” he said.
DiCowden has filed a notice, and there will be a six-month waiting period before the lawsuit is filed. He also said he and his client don’t have a monetary figure in mind, and the amount of money would be decided by a jury.
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