Civil Liberties

Cop Roughed Up Ex-Nun Visiting Nursing Home, Lawsuit Alleges


not your grandma's police force anymore

A 76-year-old former nun says she was roughed up by Columbus Police after refusing to leave a nursing home she was visiting, according to a federal lawsuit she filed.  The woman, Elizabeth Bormann, had driven 540 miles to visit a 96-year-old friend at the nursing clinic, but when she got there she found out the man's legal guardian had removed her from the list of approved guests. She insisted she wouldn't leave until she could tell her friend herself she was removed from the list. From the local TV station, ABC6:

Police say the removal was a response to a series of scams perpetrated by multiple women that had cost the man more than $500,000. 
Investigators do not suspect Bormann of involvement in the scams…

Columbus Police Officer Theodis N. Turner, III was dispatched to the nursing home, where he instructed Bormann to leave the facility. 

That, according to Bormann, is when the situation became violent.

"He said to me, 'I've had enough of you,' and he charged into me, basically, and somehow or the other, charged into my side, took my arm.  It all happened so fast.

"Before I know it, I was down on my knees and then, of course, I urinated, and I started a little crying, and pretty much I was just stunned.

"I was humiliated. I do believe that I've become a victim. It just was such a surprise and such a shock."

The police account:

[Police spokesman Sgt. Rich] Weiner tells ABC 6 Investigates a witness filled out a statement for police, saying the officer gave Bormann every opportunity to avoid handcuffs, but that "she resisted him the whole time."

Officer Turner tells a similar story in his official action-response report, which he was required to complete due to his admitted use of force.

In the report, Turner wrote that Bormann was not responding to commands, refusing to move, pulling away, and wrestling with the officer, prompting him to physically place her on the ground.

The officer called for back-up and a female officer arrived:

Bormann claims that Officer Turner eventually called for backup, and a female officer soon arrived, then sarcastically asked, "Now this is why you call for backup?"

That female officer removed the handcuffs and issued a criminal trespassing ticket to Bormann.  She was not arrested, but Bormann later pleaded guilty and paid a fine for the misdemeanor charge.

Bormann is not disputing the trespassing charge, but claims lasting physical injuries and a violation of her civil rights in the encounter with the officer. Police say Bormann never filed a complaint with the department before filing the lawsuit, so did not investigate the officer's admitted use of force.

Reason on police brutality