Garden Grove, CA — The taxpayers of Garden Grove were put on notice recently that they will be shelling out $800,000 as part of a settlement going to Robin Winger. Winger was arrested in the middle of a stroke after a drug recognition expert deemed her medical emergency a crime.
Winger has been fighting this case for a decade and has finally seen some semblance of justice. Her nightmare began on Oct. 31, 2011 as she drove her daughter to school. According to her attorney, Jerry Steering, Winger had suffered a stroke that morning and was unaware that she was behaving erratically.
As she drove her daughter to school that morning, she wasn't able to talk and eventually crashed into a car on the street, grabbing a nearby officer's attention. Because she was unaware that she was acting erratically, when the officer got behind her and turned on his lights, Winger didn't immediately stop.
Only after the officer initiated his siren did Winger quickly pull off to the side of the road.
When Officer Michael Elhami approached the car, he asked Winger why she didn't stop and Winger was unable to respond. Winger's daughter immediately told the officer that something was very wrong with her mother and said that moments before, she said she didn't feel good.
When Winger finally spoke up, she told the officer that she had gone to the hospital earlier but had no idea what for. Clearly, this mom, bringing her child to school, was in the midst of a medical emergency as her symptoms were overt.
Elhami saw these signs and the officer actually called paramedics, saying Winger reported chest pains. When the paramedics showed up, they too agreed that Winger needed medical help. However, in her current state, she was confused and did not go.
Instead of taking her to the hospital, a drug recognition officer was brought in to give Winger a field sobriety test which she had no conceivable means of passing. The "expert" determined that Winger was under the influence and he arrested her.
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As The Free Thought Project has reported, officers can attend a weekend training seminar where they learn how to escalate traffic stops under suspicion of drug use and charge more motorists with “driving under the influence of drugs,” even though many who are charged had no drugs in their system at all. We have reported on cases of these "experts" accusing autistic children of being on drugs because of their behavior, and even savagely attacking them as a result.
Unfortunately, Winger was one of these victims, and on that day, she was not brought to the hospital and instead was taken to jail where she was thrown in the sobering cell, according to Steering. She was booked for DUI and only after she got worse in the jail cell was she taken to the hospital.
Once she arrived at the hospital, staff immediately determined that she had suffered a stroke and she was admitted. The damage was extensive due to the delay of her treatment and she was hospitalized for four days.
Meanwhile, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed misdemeanor DUI charges against her as she recovered in the hospital.
Two years later, in 2013, Winger sued the Police Department and the Geo Group in federal court. She received $300,000 as part of that lawsuit and it took 7 more years for the settlement with Garden Grove who settled recently for $500,000.
Her DUI charges were eventually thrown out as well.
“Police officers usually suspect intoxication when a person suffers a stroke. They need better training so less people suffer the nightmare of being arrested for intoxication when they need immediate medical help the most,” Steering told the OC register.
Indeed they do. As TFTP reported last month, a Boston man suffered a similar fate. Officers accused Al Copeland, 62, of being drunk and arrested him instead of getting him help for the stroke he had just suffered.
He was left in jail for far longer than Winger and was in a coma for weeks. He is now permanently disabled as a result of police mistaking his medical emergency for DUI.