Ashland woman suing City, APD, Providence over ‘forced’ catheterization in 2019

ASHLAND, Ore — An Ashland resident has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Ashland, Ashland Police Department, and Providence over her alleged encounter with a police officer two years ago.

Attorneys representing 64-year-old Liese Behringer, filed the suit Monday. It alleges counts of conspiracy to violate civil rights, and violation of the fourth and 14th amendment.

“The complaint that’s been lodged in the U.S. District Court for Oregon spells out pretty clearly, serious civil rights violations,” Joy Bertrand, attorney from Arizona who is representing Behringer told NBC5. “We brought it to a federal court and we expect a judge to look at this very seriously.” 

On October 19th, 2019, Bertrand said Behringer was pulled over for a suspected DUII within city limits. She was then taken to the police station after being unable to submit a breathalyzer test – due to her being on an oxygen tank.

The lawsuit states Behringer agreed to take a urine sample at the police station, but later refused to take the test in front of the male officer.

“When the officer insisted that he will be in the bathroom with her and observing her, [Behringer] said no I’m not going to do that in front of a man.” said Bertrand.

After receiving a warrant for the blood and urine samples, Bertrand said the officer transported Behringer to Providence Medford Medical Center. The attorneys allege that the staff at Providence, forcibly removed Behringer’s clothes and catheterized her for the urine sample.

“[The warrant] authorized a blood and urine sample, but they did not say the urine could be forcibly taken.” said Bertrand.

Bertrand said the hospital admitted in writing to Behringer, that forced catheterizations happen often at the facility. She adds that law enforcement in multiple counties in the state, have conspired to force catheterize suspects for urine samples through threats.

“The conspiracy resulted in violating the civil rights of everyone who is threatened with forcible catheterization or who was forcibly catheterized.” the lawsuit alleged.

The plaintiffs say they are seeking money for emotional distress and injuries that Behringer apparently suffered after the procedure. A trial date has yet to be set for the case.

“I would be interested to see if more people come forward to see if this has happened to them now that this lawsuit has been brought.” said Bertrand.

The Ashland Police Department, City of Ashland, and Providence each said they cannot comment on pending litigation.

This remains a developing story and more details will be released as they emerge.

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