Woman’s Arm Amputated Because Police Put Her Handcuffs On Too Tight

The Allegheny County Sheriff claimed that there was nothing spectacular about the arrest; that the officers were following routine procedure. I wouldn’t doubt that the cops’ actions are commonplace, but to suggest that there’s nothing wrong with what they did is a different story.

There was a warrant for 35-year-old Amy Needham, a mother of three, for failing to appear at a preliminary hearing to answer to a charge brought against her. The charge had apparently been reduced to “disorderly conduct.” Maybe a cop had bumped into her.

So, police arrive at her house, and I assume they help themselves in, because she was in the bathroom. No matter. They break down the door to the bathroom, shoot her with a Taser, apply arm bars and wristlocks, handcuff her and haul her off to jail.

During the week in jail following her arrest, she complained a total of 16 times that she needed to see a doctor about her arms. According to her complaint against the police department, the handcuffs had been on too tight, and it caused compartment syndrome, characterized by “increased pressure in a muscle compartment that can damage both muscles and nerves.” The Daily Mail reported:

According to her attorney, Marvin Leibowitz, the tight handcuffs caused her to suffer compartment syndrome, a limb- and life-threatening condition that occurs after an injury. It happens when there is insufficient blood supply to muscles and nerves due to increased pressure within the compartment, such as the arm, leg or any enclosed space within the body.

Leibowitz continued:

“They never sent her a doctor. Never took her to the doctor. She developed a septic shock. The infection went over and she almost died and they had to take off her arm to prevent her from dying.”

Now, she’s suing them for $75,000, a seemingly meager sum, considering that their treatment of her literally cost her an arm.