Ladonna Paris, 70, a great-grandmother and Black woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the police, the city, and Mayor G.T. Bynum.
Alleging that she was attacked and arrested while she was having a mental health crisis, Paris 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 took place at Phillips Theological Seminary, where Paris was attending graduate school when witnesses called 911 to report concerns over her mental state. Upon an ambulance arriving, Paris drove to a nearby store where she locked herself in a bathroom and refused to leave after police arrived, according to the lawsuit.
“Amid a bipolar manic episode, which included paranoia and delusions, Ms. Paris was afraid the officers would kill her, so she locked herself in the bathroom and would not come out,” the lawsuit states.
According to attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, Officer Ronni Carrocci, who is white, is seen on police video banging on the door to the bathroom where Paris was inside.
“You want to get tased … I love my job,” Carroci said as she turned toward the camera.
“She’s so 85,” Carrioca later, and still on video, said using the police code for a person needing mental health treatment, according to Solomon-Simmons.
“She (Carrioca) did all of this on video, knowing she was on video,” Solomon-Simmons said. “She was so giddy about it; it was disgusting.”
Being made aware of the lawsuit, the city declined to comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit was filed in Tulsa County District Court and alleges 14 civil rights violations, including excessive use of force, ignoring Paris’ medical needs, ignoring training, and assault.
Paris seeks justice and accountability by the city and police for the officers’ actions, and more than $75,000 in actual damages and unspecified compensation for punitive damages and legal fees, according to Solomon-Simmons.
“We want a judge to say this is not constitutional policing; this is unacceptable,” Solomon-Simmons said.