By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A local woman had to have her arm amputated after a recent arrest and she is blaming law enforcement authorities.

She has filed a lawsuit and it accuses deputies of using excessive force and the Allegheny County Jail of refusing to allow her to get treatment from a doctor.

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The woman’s attorney says those two factors are the major reasons why she lost her arm.

The attorney for 35- year-old Amy Needham says the rough treatment started as soon as deputies entered her home to execute an arrest warrant.

“Five deputy sheriffs from for one little girl. She has to go to the bathroom. She asked, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’ They refused. They broke the door down and then they Tased her, grabbed her and they put her in a sheriff’s van. And I think the handcuffs were tight,” attorney Marvin Leibowitz said.

According to the complaint, that alleged treatment caused her to suffer from compartment syndrome, which is increased pressure that damages muscles and nerves. The attorney says while his client sat in jail, she made 16 requests to see a doctor for treatment but was denied.

“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,” Leibowitz said.

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Needham, mother of three children ages five to nine, had previously worked in a restaurant. She is now waiting for a prosthesis.

“She has severe psychological problems. I think she’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She doesn’t have an arm. How is she going to get a job?” Leibowitz said.

Deputies had arrested her for failing to show up at a preliminary hearing on a charge that was eventually reduced to disorderly conduct.

Now, she is seeking $75,000 in damages.

Meanwhile, there’s been no comment from the sheriff’s department or the Allegheny County Jail.


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