Cops Had Woman Put in Mental Hospital After She “Asked Them for a Warrant”

Jocelyn Rardin | Courthouse News Service


(CN) — A Virginia woman claims in court that Newport News police illegally entered her home and then wrongfully imprisoned her in a psychiatric ward against her will for six days.

In a complaint filed in the Hampton City Circuit Court on Oct. 4, Hieda Keeler claims that on Nov. 18, 2015, she was home alone when two city police officers knocked on her door and asked if she needed help.

Keeler says she asked the officers if they had a warrant to enter her home, and when they said they did not, she told the she did not need help, was no threat to herself or others, and that they were to leave her property.

But instead of leaving, the officers called for assistance, causing an untold number of additional officers and a fire truck to respond to the scene.

Keeler claims the police then broke down her front and back doors and placed her in handcuffs.

According to the complaint, the police then removed $360 in cash from Keeler’s purse, and three case files related to the theft of $300,000 of Keeler’s personal property.

Keeler says she was then taken against her will to Riverside Hospital in Newport News, where defendant Melaney Cox, an employee of the Hampton-Newport News Community Service Board, was waiting to meet with her.

Keeler says she refused to speak to Cox, who nevertheless went before a magistrate, stated she had evaluated Keeler, and obtained a temporary detention order for her.

Keeler claims that while at Riverside Hospital she was kept in restraints while medical students drew vials of blood from her without her permission and injected her with unknown solutions.

All of these activities were supervised by defendant Dr. Nicole Nelson, in the presence of Newport News police officers, who videotaped the blood withdrawal procedures, the complaint says.

Keeler claims her irregular medical treatment continued when she was denied the use of a restroom for three hours, causing her to urinate on herself.

She also claims Newport News police officers threatened to hold Keeler down, strip her, and catheterize her if she did not provide a urine sample.

According to the complaint, when Keeler asked for a drink of water she was given toilet water, while the doctor, nurse, psychiatric technician, and police present were all laughing at her.

Keeler was then injected with a large needle despite her objection, at the direction Dr. Nelson. Since the injection, Keeler has had recurring rashes on her face, back, chest, legs, and arms.

Keeler was again handcuffed and taken to the dangerous stabilization ward.

Upon reaching the stabilization ward, a pharmacist told Keeler that if she did not take the drug Abilify, she would be forcibly given an injection, the complaint says.

But Keeler says she suffers from several preexisting conditions, including high blood pressure, a history of heart attack, heart rhythm problems and high cholesterol, which make taking Abilify a danger.

Having no other alternative, Keeler says she was forced to take the Abilify medication.

She said she was held for six days before she had a hearing at which a psychiatrist and a social worker both testified that she did not belong in a hospital psychiatric ward.

Keeler was released the next day, subject to a custody order that she immediately appealed

According to court documents, the Hampton Circuit Court found “no clear and convincing evidence that Keeler’s mental state posed a threat of serious harm to herself or others or that Keeler was unable to protect herself from harm or that Keeler was unable to provide for her basic needs.”

Accordingly, the matter was dismissed.

Keeler is now seeking $15 million in damages from the Newport News police, Cox, Nelson, the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board Property Company and Riverside Hospital.

Natalie Christian, a spokeswoman for the Community Services Board, declined to comment.

Representatives for Newport News police and Riverside Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment..

Sherman Smith, Keeler’s attorney, declined to comment on pending litigation.

Published by Courthouse News Service.