Police arrest suicidal girl: Dismiss the charges against Jennifer Johnson
A suicidal person should be treated like a human being in a medical setting, not arrested and thrown in jail like a criminal. The charges against Jennifer Johnson should be dropped and a public apology made to her and to her family for the way she was mistreated and humiliated.
- Judge of Giles County General Sessions Court
John P. Damron
Please drop or dismiss the charges of Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest against Jennifer Johnson, and issue a public apology to her and her family for the mistreatment and humiliation she suffered at the hands of the Pulaski law enforcement and Giles County jail staff.
This is what happened to Ms. Johnson:
Dismiss or drop the charges against Jennifer Johnson.
This is what happened to Ms. Johnson:
"On May 10 of 2013 at around noon, I went to a bridge in Pulaski, TN with the intention of jumping off of it. I write a note to my nieces and wrote some thoughts down in my notebook. I was preparing to jump off when Giles county and Pulaski police spotted me and stopped to talk to me. They pulled and dragged me away from the bridge and had me get on an ambulance that soon arrived. I was taken to the ER at Hillside hospital in Pulaski.
If you are not familiar with Tennessee or this area, Pulaski is a small town about two hours from Nashville and one hour from Huntsville, AL. It is most well known for being the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.
I will do anything to not be taken to a mental hospital, because I have been assaulted by male patients at mental hospitals before and the hospital staff did nothing about it. I have also been held down and given injections in the hip at those places with nurses laughing at my expense. I have PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
At the ER after a nurse came to my room and requested I take off my clothes, I walked out of the ER and started running away. A doctor chased me down and grabbed me about 50 yards away from the hospital. He made me fall to the ground. I told him I did not want to go to a mental hospital and to please leave me alone but he just told me to stop and he held on to me so tightly that he bruised me. He also kicked me with his knee. This took place off hospital grounds near some trees and a hill. The ground was muddy from the rain and I got covered in mud and my clothes were soaked. The nurse came up to us and also grabbed me. I kept telling them to please leave me alone and told them they were hurting me, but they would not let me go. They joked about it and the nurse laughed at me. The doctor then said the police were coming to get me and that I should have behaved better.
The police arrived, several of them. They grabbed me and held on so tight that they bruised me all over my body. My wrists were sprained and it felt like my leg got broken when I felt something slam into it. I was crying and screaming the whole time. I told them they were hurting me, but they just laughed and forced handcuffs on me. Someone pushed my face into the mud. They said they were taking me to jail, and that shocked me. I asked what for, crying, and the officer with a mustache said it was for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. How is being suicidal considered disorderly conduct? I was devastated and begged them to not take me to jail. I was no criminal but they had no sympathy for me. While I sat handcuffed in the back of a police car, the officers and hospital staff joked with eachother and acted like I was not even there.
I was then taken to Giles county jail. The jail staff asked why I was there instead of a hospital, since I was obviously mentally ill and needed medical attention. The officer said it was because the hospital couldn't handle me. The jail staff were very rude to me and padded me down. I was crying and babbling the whole time but no one offered any sympathy. I was then forced to take off my clothes and had a large green velcro vest that would not stay closed put on me. The back kept opening and the jail staff would make jokes about it. I was crying but they barked orders at me and tried to get me processed as an inmate. I was then placed in a jail cell with no bed and no blanket or pillow. I was given no food and remained there for hours before a mobile crisis team arrived to assist me. I kept crying and telling them that I was not a criminal, that I just wanted to kill myself, that I would rather be dead than be in jail or in a mental hospital, that I didn't belong there, and that I wished I was dead.
The jail staff then held me down and forced me to wear a jail uniform. I was put in shackles that were so tight that they were cutting into my wrists. I was placed in the back of a police car and taken to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville. MTMHI saw my injuries from the treatment of the jail staff and the police, and took me to a hospital ER in Nashville. I was wearing the orange jumpsuit and people stared at me. I was humiliated, crying, and in plain. The hospital did xrays of my leg and wrists to see if they were broken. I was given a cast for my left wrist- both of my wrists were swollen. My leg was not broken but I could not walk on it and had be taken around in wheelchair.
I stayed there until the next Friday when I was discharged and released back into the custody of the Giles county jail. I stayed overnight in the same cell as before and could not find anyone to bond me out until the following day. The charges of Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest have not been dropped like everyone told me they would be, and my arraignment was on a Tuesday.
How can you be resisting arrest unless you were being arrested, and since when is being suicidal considered an offense that a person can be arrested for? Since when is mental illness or having suicidal thoughts considered Disorderly Conduct?
I want to share my story and make people aware of this abuse of police power over those suffering from mental illness and depression. How is putting a suicidal person in jail not considered ridiculous?
I live in Pulaski TN and am currently homeless but staying at a hotel. I get social security disability for my mental and physical illnesses. I was going to a private college in Pulaski. "
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