A video (below) has surfaced that shows two deputies booking a woman, Jennifer Merrow, at the Monroe County Jail in New York on Dec. 19, 2014. In the video, the deputies appear to rush and hit Merrow, and push her to the floor.
According to the Democrat & Chronicle, the video was released by Anjan Ganguly, Merrow's lawyer, who said: "Nobody deserves to be beaten up like that … that's not what our criminal justice system is suppose to be about. There's frankly nothing I can see that would possibly justify that level of force."
"She had no aggressive stance toward anyone ..." Ganguly added. "It couldn't be more clear."
Merrow has filed a federal lawsuit against Monroe County Sheriff's Deputies Raelle Ashley and Timothy Romach and their supervisors -- Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn and County Jail Superintendent Ronald W. Harling -- and other unnamed jail personnel.
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In her lawsuit, Merrow said that the deputies used excessive force and she suffered serious injuries.
In the video (no audio), Merrow is being booked on suspicion of DWI. She is trying to put on a jacket when a female deputy appears to advance and strike her. Another deputy joins in and they push Merrow to the floor; several other deputies come to the scene.
According to Merrow's lawsuit, she lost consciousness and woke up to find herself naked. Marrow alleges that male deputies were present, and she fears they may have photographed her naked with their cell phones.
"I think the video speaks for itself," Ganguly told WHEC. "You have this clearly unreasonable level of force being used."
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The deputies accused Merrow of attacking them. She was subsequently convicted of a misdemeanor count of DWI (the original charge) and second degree assault (of the deputies). She was given time served for the assault charge, but has filed an appeal.
"People have broken the law they've done something wrong," Ganguly added. "And our system is set up to handle that. What it's not set up to do is to physically attack people. This is clearly unreasonable and frankly illegal use of force against a criminal defendant."
Monroe County Sheriff's spokesperson John Helfer said: "The video evidence that was used to convict the defendant for assaulting the deputies was reviewed by a citizens review board that we use in these cases and the board exonerated the deputies."
"My client is not anti-cop, anti-law enforcement," Ganguly stated. "She's not looking to make a name for herself. I feel most law enforcement officers are probably upstanding, hardworking people, but in this instance she was very clearly wronged -- deeply wronged. And I think she's looking for justice to come out of this."