Don't Get Publicly Drunk in New York City, Even Though It's Legal

Gothamist has blogged another exciting lawsuit about police excess in response to something minor. This time the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested a lady who had a bit to drink at a party, but somehow ended up being arrested, committed to the hospital and involuntarily sedated, thanks to an overly-concerned cop. Even though it's not illegal to be drunk in public in New York City, the lawsuit alleges: 

On December 8th last year, just before midnight, Chloe Sowers was sitting on the floor of the Lower Manhattan terminal drinking a coconut water and waiting for the boat to take her home. She was sitting on the floor because no seats were available, but this caught the eye of one Officer Kevin McKeon, who was so "concerned" about Sowers that she ended up handcuffed and taken to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was bound and drugged for the night against her will.

Sowers concedes that she was intoxicated, but according to the lawsuit she's filed against the city (below), she was "functioning and in control of her facilities." Officer McKeon, however, asked her if she needed medical attention. She said no, but when the ferry arrived he stopped her from boarding. Sowers alleges that the cop gave her the "choice" of going to the hospital voluntarily or forcibly. She declined to volunteer, and was handcuffed, forced onto a wheelchair, strapped to a gurney, and taken to the hospital.

Once there, Sowers says she demanded to be released, and when a hospital worker saw her trying to escape her restraints, she heard someone say, "Hey, it looks like we got a Houdini here!" She was then forced into a mini-straight jacket and involuntarily sedated!

It's not exactly breaking down a door and shooting a 19-year-old over marijuana, but it's still well worth a lawsuit if it's true.

Reason on the NYPD, on police, and on laws against public drinking

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Force a sedative on a drunk. Doctors did this?

  • I'm not drunk, ossifer.||

    "functioning and in control of her facilities."

  • Kill It, Burn It, Eat It||

    But suspiciously, she was drinking coconut water and wouldn't go to the hospital. It's a wonder she wasn't maced and tazed, then beaten into a coma.

  • ||

    Don't go to New York City, ever.

  • Dylboz||

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    A THOUSAND times, THIS!

  • ||

    Wow never thought about it like that before.

    www.Going-Anon.tk

  • ChrisO||

    Can we limit the nutpunch threads to Mondays? I was having such a good Friday until I saw this thread and the high-school entrapment one. What a fucked-up country we've become.

  • ||

    It's not exactly breaking down a door and shooting a 19-year-old over marijuana

    In some ways it's actually worse. Personally, I'd prefer the bullet to psychiatric containment.

  • castellammare||

    What did she think was going to happen when she was yelling and screaming in her hospital bed? That the hospital staff were going to say, "Hey, that woman who is refusing to cooperate with us and needed to be handcuffed and restrained is totally in control of her facilities?"

    It sounds like this was her own fault.

  • ||

    ...for everyone having a onsided opinion and was not there; she was lethargic, dehydraded and unable to walk straight. Now picture this in the news as a lawsuit: "City fails to protect woman who was not able to fend for herself by allowing her to go home even when she exhibited signs of intoxication and lack of bodily control. She was later followed, raped, robbed and killed". When providing an opinion, learn to see both of things you "witness" first and then you may be a better and FAIR commentator of things you did not see. I personally believe that LEGAL PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS is a cancer that no goverment should have to "assist" with...let them deal with consequences thenselves...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement