The Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida is conducting an investigation after one deputy was caught on video dragging a woman suffering from mental illness through a courthouse hallway by her ankle shackles, the New York Daily News reports.
In the video, the woman, 28-year-old Dasyl Rios, can be hearing screaming (though not resisting), “Stop! You’re hurting me! You’re f—king hurting me!” She also cries out about hating her life and wishing that they would just kill her.
Rios suffers from bipolar disorder and was at the county court earlier this week for a status hearing after doctors found her mentally incompetent, the Daily News notes.
The deputy dragging Rios by her ankle shackles even as she screams for her mother has been identified as Christopher Johnson.
Rios’ mother, Sylvia Rios, told the Daily News that her daughter was a great student before her mental illness took over. According to the report, Dasyl Rios has been involuntarily institutionalized a number of times before.
“I’m trying to gather my stuff to see if I can walk with her when I heard the biggest thump,” the mother told the news site. “The noise was unbelievable. I realized they were doing something to my child.”
She rushed out to the hallway to see the deputy dragging her restrained daughter. “I don’t think I’m ever going to get over this,” the elder Rios, an assistant principal at a high school, added.
“They dragged her off like she was a farm animal,” said defense lawyer Bill Gelin, who was at the courthouse dealing with another case when he saw the incident unfold. “I don’t even think you can treat a farm animal like that anymore.”
Gelin was the one who recorded the troubling incident.
Gelin’s wife, Lynn DeSanti, a lawyer with the Broward Public Defender’s Office, also saw Dasyl Rios being dragged. DeSanti said that Rios was just sitting crying on a bench in the hallway when Johnson came up demanding that she start walking. “If you not going to get up, I’m going to drag you,” Johnson said, Desanti claimed.
Seconds later, Johnson stayed true to his words and dragged Rios off the bench and down the hallway.
“I was speechless,” DeSanti said. “I was shocked. I’ve never seen anything like this in my 12 years of being a lawyer.”
According to the Daily News, Johnson allegedly wrote up a report claiming that Rios was being disruptive and that he feared “she would cause a commotion.”
The department is investigating the incident and has placed Johnson on restricted duty in the meantime. “I am concerned by the way the deputy handled this situation, because there were other courses of action he could have taken,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in a statement, according to the news site.
DeSanti, for her part, thinks that Johnson should be slapped with criminal charges.“This man should have been arrested,” she insisted. “This girl did nothing to prompt his behavior. He should have to answer to what he did.”
Rios was taken to a mental-health hospital, where she and her mother will review their options once she has recovered.
“Here we are complaining about other countries, and here we are acting like barbarians,” Sylvia Rios told the Daily News.
Read more at the New York Daily News.