Choosing to take or refuse prescription medication is not a crime. But an Akron woman was assaulted then handcuffed for taking her prescribed pain pills - by a deputy who literally pried one of them out of her mouth!
While sitting in a room in Summit County Courthouse, awaiting the resolution of a prior issue, Siobhan Householder was trying to take some pain pills for a tooth infection, when an officer came in and told her to spit them out.
Before she could respond, however, he grabbed her by the hair, pinned her down and shoved his hand into her mouth with such force the woman suffered bruises on her chin and legs and cuts in her mouth. This mother of three was then frisked, handcuffed and taken to a medical facility where she was afterward released. The sheriff’s office explained they don’t allow prisoners to bring pills to jail. But if Householder was in custody, why did she have her pills and purse with her?
Ironically just days later and hidden from public scrutiny, an Ohio man and brain injury survivor, John Rohrer, was held down by police officers while he was forcibly injected with a drug known to cause brain damage, one whose manufacturer has been successfully sued in several states for fraudulently failing to disclose deadly side effects.
In both cases officers claimed to be acting out of concern for those they assaulted. But Householder didn’t appear to be in any danger until the deputy became "concerned for her safety." And Rohrer's doctor outside the hospital says the medication forced on Rohrer is detrimental to his health and violates the standard of care.
No one should interfere with a person's right to take or refuse prescribed medications. Tell Ohio to stop assaulting citizens over prescription drugs!
We, the undersigned, see no justification for officers to physically assault citizens who choose to take or refuse prescribed or over-the-counter medications responsibly.
The assault on Householder was, first, unjustified because she was clearly not in custody or else she would not have had access to her medications. Second it was dangerous because it caused more physical harm to her than three pills could have created and had potential for even greater harm. The officer could not have known whether the pills were prescribed or whether Householder was taking them as prescribed before he assaulted her and caused her bodily harm. For all he knew she had to take the pills to prevent a seizure or heart attack.
Further potential for much greater harm was caused by him knocking Householder on the floor and jamming his hand into her mouth. This assault, especially by a man the size of officer Vaughan, the one who attacked her, could have caused a concussion and even jaw fracture/s.
Certainly, if Householder was under arrest and in police custody as the office claims, she would not have had her pills with her, and there seems to be no reason for her to believe she was doing anything wrong by taking them nor for her to imagine she'd be physically assaulted for trying to soothe her painful toothache.
Just as unnecessary and unjustified is the force officers Brian Willard and Todd Bumbalough at Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare in Athens, Ohio used on John Rohrer. Rohrer had simply been walking down the hall at ABH, a state hospital he has sued for illegally detaining him, when he was assaulted.
Rohrer was held down so he could be injected with a drug known to cause brain damage, one whose manufacturer has been successfully sued in several states for its fraudulent marketing of the very drug (Risperdal) forced on Rohrer that day.
Neither of these victims were in custody for or convicted of committing a crime and had every right to choose to take or refuse medication. Neither had been deemed legally incompetent, so both had rights to take or refuse medication, as citizens of Ohio and the U.S., when they were assaulted by officers working for the State of Ohio.
We insist that the state take action against these officers and protect all rights of its citizens in the future - and stop punishing its citizens for either choosing to take or refuse prescription medications. Obviously reform on this issue is needed.
Thanks for your time.