Ramsey County jail facing lawsuit over alleged mistreatment, injuries
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A woman claims her leg was badly broken and permanently disfigured while she was in custody, inside the Ramsey County jail, and her attorneys are taking the case to Federal Court seeking more than $10 million in damages for pain and suffering.
According to court filings in U.S. District Court, Miri Mozuch-Stafford claims she was arrested allegedly for disorderly conduct while seeking shelter at a St. Paul hotel on a cold February night last year.
Once at the jail, her attorneys argue her civil rights were violated on two fronts – once when she was gang tackled and broke her leg, and then when she was denied the emergency medical care she desperately needed for more than 15 hours.
"A photograph tells a thousand words and more. It's one of the worst disfigurement cases that I’ve seen," said attorney Rich Student.
Attorneys Student and Steve Meshbesher claim the county and several sheriff’s deputies and a doctor violated Mozuch-Stafford’s civil rights last year inside the jail. They contend that snapshots taken from jailhouse surveillance cameras tell the story.
While Mozuch-Stafford reportedly cried out in pain and anguish, her screams captured on video recordings, she was ultimately shackled, according to her attorneys.
"It's built into the policy, the written Ramsey County policy. If someone's in your custody, in care, then you have to take care of them," said Student.
The pair allege it would ultimately take 17 hours before she received the medical care she desperately needed for her injuries including compartment syndrome – leading to a month-long hospital stay – and scores of surgeries, thousands of dollars in medical bills and permanent, painful disfigurement.
"The idea of amputation was on the table from a medical standpoint, and I don't think it's been eliminated," Student says.
For all of those reasons the attorneys claim Ramsey County should be held responsible for the pain and suffering and emotional distress she woman suffered.