From [HERE] A woman who was knocked unconscious and left handcuffed and bleeding in a holding cell by two Schenectady police officers has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers, their former supervisor and the city of Schenectady.
Video footage of the October 2015 incident showed Vebra Moore, 41, who weighs 100 pounds and was handcuffed behind her back, being struck repeatedly with the Schenectady officers' fists and knees. Blood from her split-open head pooled on the floor and streaked a wall where the officers shackled her limp body to a bench in the holding cell and walked away.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Albany against the two officers who pummeled Moore, brothers Ryan and Matthew Thorne, and Officer Mark McCracken, who at the time was a lieutenant but has since been demoted.
"I am hopeful that through this lawsuit we will achieve a full measure of justice for Ms. Moore," said James C. Knox, Moore's attorney.
McCracken, who witnessed the officers striking Moore and did not intervene, was suspended two years ago for his role in an unrelated incident in which another handcuffed woman had her head split open when an officer picked her up and slammed her onto a bench inside the station. Internal affairs reports shared with the Times Union indicate McCracken was disciplined, in part, because he showed a photo of her injuries to other high-ranking police officers and boasted "this is what happens when someone hits one of my men."
Moore, in an interview with the Times Union last year, said she had little recollection of the Oct. 17, 2015 incident. She recalled feeling "helpless."
Law enforcement officials had said the Thorne brothers acted appropriately and used justifiable force. They alleged Moore initiated the attack because she bit one of the officer's fingers and wouldn't let go. They charged her with felony assault, although a jury later cleared her of that charge.
At her trial, Knox, argued that his client could not recall biting the officer. But if she did, he said, it was an act of self defense against a brutal attack.
The jury deliberated for several days and convicted Moore on the minor charges that led to her arrest, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The incident was one of several cases in recent years involving allegations of excessive force by a department that underwent 10 years of federal monitoring that began in 2003. The monitoring began amid investigations by the FBI and U.S. Justice Department into allegations of systemic civil rights violations, excessive force and criminal conduct, including incidents that led to federal prosecutions of multiple officers.
Moore's ordeal began on a Saturday night when she was at a Schenectady bar where a stabbing took place outside. Police began clearing the area but Moore lingered near the crime scene because, she said, she lost her car keys in the bar and had no way to get home. Police say that, after Moore directed offensive language at officers, she was handcuffed and charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction and resisting arrest.
Moore said her knee buckled as officers tackled her to the ground. She says a ligament in her right knee was then torn completely when an officer punched her lower leg as she struggled to get into the back of a police car while handcuffed.
Surveillance video at the station shows the Thorne brothers leading Moore out of a police car and into a hallway that -- under departmental policy -- is not normally used to escort someone under arrest. Moore acknowledges screaming for help and yelling at the officer who she believed had punched her leg.
Inside the station, video cameras recorded Moore barely able to stand as the officers at times dragged her by the handcuffs -- stretching her arms upward behind her so hard that her wrists were as high as the back of her head. Moore said she had trouble standing and walking because of her knee injury.
Professor Gregory G. Gilbertson, a former police officer and SWAT team member who is considered an expert on police policies, including use of force, told the Times Union last year that Moore was subjected to what's called a "pain-compliance hold" that should have been used only briefly to get to her to walk forward. It's not supposed to be used to carry someone for a distance, he said, and not when other officers are nearby who could help move the person.
Moore said she's uncertain how long she remained in the cell before she was eventually transported to Ellis Hospital. But she said the hospital did not close her head wounds. When she was taken to Schenectady County jail from the hospital, she said, they documented her head wounds and made her sign a form confirming the injuries happened before she arrived. Then a nurse used glue to close the wounds, she said.
The federal lawsuit filed by Moore seeks unspecified damages and includes claims of excessive force, false arrest, illegal imprisonment and failure to intervene. Her complaint said that her injuries "required medical attention ... including wound care, knee surgery and treatment for concussion and post-concussive disorder."
"I suffer headaches," Moore said last year. "I get them every day and sometimes it will be so unbearable it's like I'm being stabbed in my head."