Colorado county pays $2.4million to naked woman who was thrown on bed, arrested during welfare check

Colorado woman awarded $2.4million in wrongful arrest case after she was thrown on her bed while naked before cops tased and restrained her in jail

  • Carolyn O’Neal was arrested at a sober living facility in May 2014
  • Officers came to check on her due to self-harm concerns, but after she tried dismissing the officers, they entered her room and threw her on the bed
  • O’Neal was also placed in a restraint chair for several hours and tased at jail
  • O’Neal was originally awarded $3.6million, but it was reduced by a judge 

Fremont County in Colorado was forced to shell out $2.4million last week to a woman wrongly arrested while nude in May 2014.

Carolyn O’Neal was arrested in her own apartment during a welfare check, when officers came to check on her after it was reported she may harm herself at a sober living facility in Cañon City.

O’Neal reportedly came to the door to respond to officers, but asked them to go away because she was naked and was preparing to take a bath. She also said she was not going to harm herself.

Despite O’Neal’s pleas, the three male officers used their own key to enter her apartment.

Carolyn O’Neal was awarded $2.4million by Fremont County last week for her wrongful arrest

O'Neal was taken to jail in May 2014 after being arrested in her home by three male deputies

O’Neal was taken to jail in May 2014 after being arrested in her home by three male deputies

They then threw O’Neal on the bed before arresting her and taking her to jail, all while she remained naked, covered only by a blanket as she was led out of her apartment during the day.

According to the Denver Post, O’Neal was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, with both charges later being dismissed.

‘This was an outrageous case,’ said O’Neal’s lawyer, David Lane. ‘Law enforcement officers who believed they were above the law got smacked down hard by a jury. And unfortunately this costs the taxpayers of Fremont County a lot of money.

‘But I hope it inspires the citizenry to demand accountability from law enforcement — otherwise it’s coming out of their pockets.’

While in jail, O’Neal was put into a restraint chair with her arms and torso tied up, as well as a spit mask on her face.

When officers tried to strap her legs back into the chair after letting them be free for a period of time, O’Neal resisted, leading deputies to shock her with a Taser twice.

She allegedly spent four hours in the restraining chair and 12 hours in jail before being given a fresh uniform.

O'Neal was naked at the time of her arrest and was given just a smock to wear at jail

O’Neal was naked at the time of her arrest and was given just a smock to wear at jail

O'Neal was also tied to a restraint chair for several hours and tased by officers at least twice

O’Neal was also tied to a restraint chair for several hours and tased by officers at least twice

O'Neal was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both later dropped

O’Neal was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both later dropped

Lane has stated in the past that O’Neal suffers from mental health problems, as well as PTSD. 

Originally, O’Neal was award $3.6million by a jury in April 2019.

‘This jury sent them the loudest, clearest message,’ Lane said to the Denver Post at the time. ‘We the people are not going to put up with constitutional violations from law enforcement officers.’

A judge later reduced the award to $2.1million, which both sides of O’Neal’s lawsuit appealed, leading to this week’s new ruling.

Meanwhile, Jim Beicker, who served as the sheriff at the time of O’Neal’s arrest, resigned in July 2018 after a recall attempt was made.

None of the officers involved were disciplined for their actions as of April 2019, according to Lane. 

The case ultimately came to an end when Fremont County dropped their appeal last week and agreed to pay the $2.4million reward.

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