A Long Island woman claimed she was put in a psych ward because police officers who pulled her over at a traffic light didn’t believe her BMW belonged to her.
Kamilah Brock said the terrifying incident began at a traffic light in Harlem when she was pulled over for driving without her hands on the steering wheel. Before she knew it, Brock was being detained by the officer.
“I was confused and did not know what was going on, why I was being taken into custody,” she said. “The officer said, '[W]hy are you driving without your hands on the wheel?' I said I was dancing, I am at a light, [and] he asked me to get out of the car."
Brock was taken to the police station, but was later released without charges filed. She was, however, told to return the next day to get her car. When she arrived the next day to pick up the vehicle, Brock said police acted in disbelief that the BMW she had been driving was hers.
“I told them I have a BMW [when] they asked me what kind of car it was and from that moment[,] they started looking at me differently like I could not have a BMW,” she said. She was subsequently placed in handcuffs and taken to Harlem Hospital, then committed to a psych ward.
“She has no history of mental illness to brand her as mentally ill because she is telling the truth about who she is,” her lawyer, Michael Lamonsoff, said.
Brock, a bank executive, was injected with sedatives and forced to take lithium. She spent eight days enduring the terrifying treatment.
“He held onto me and then the doctor stuck me in the arm and I was on a stretcher and I woke up to them taking my clothes off, specifically my underwear,” she said. “Then I went back out again. When I woke up the next day, I felt like I was in a nightmare. I didn't understand why that was happening to me."
During the course of her stay at the hospital, staff members repeatedly tried to get Brock to deny three things about herself — that she owned the BMW, that she was a professional banker, and that President Obama followed her on Twitter.
According to a lawsuit against the city filed by Brock, those three assertions were the reason why the city deemed her as delusional and diagnosed her with bipolar disorder.
Brock was released after eight days, but was stuck with more than $13,000 in medical bills.
“If a white woman was trying to reclaim her BMW impounded by police, would she have been made a victim?" Brock said. “Would she have been questioned? Would she have been subject to sarcastic comments? Would she be made to justify who she was in order to ask for help? I don't think so. I do think race played a part in this."