Epileptic woman calls 9-1-1 for help, beaten when seizures mistaken for ‘resisting arrest’
PISMO BEACH — A woman was arrested and suffered numerous injuries after she phoned for help during an epileptic episode.
She alleges that she was needlessly assaulted after her seizures were interpreted as “resisting arrest.”
The incident happened on October 11th, 2014, after Andrea Starr called 9-1-1 because of medical distress.
She says that she was on the beach alone, suffering from an epileptic seizure that was exacerbated by consumption of alcohol.
She is diagnosed with a condition called Juvenile Myoclonic Syndrome, which is a rare form of generalized epilepsy with retractable seizures that do not respond well to medication.
“I was having seizures, going in and out of consciousness,” said Ms. Starr.
“I did not even understand where I was. I called 9-1-1 crying, begging for help. Instead, multiple police showed up, no medics, or ambulance.”
Ms. Starr alleges that the responding Pismo Beach police officers assaulted her instead of giving her medical help.
“I am not a criminal,” Ms. Starr said.
“I called 9-1-1. I never meant to act in aggression, as I was very confused. The police just assumed I was on drugs and was psychotic.”
Police attempted to take the woman into custody for public intoxication.
In doing so, Ms. Starr reports that her legs involuntarily convulsed, which police interpreted as resistance.
The rough handling that followed left her with numerous contusions.