In the last three years, 2,600 arrested people have been denied custody to Baltimore’s jail because of health issues, Baltimore Sun reporter Mark Puente tells NPR. There’s no way to determine if the police caused the injuries, but the city has paid out millions in lawsuits to people who did accuse these police of injuries. Puente says many of the health issues involved high blood pressure, pregnancy or mental health status, but the third-highest rejection was for head injuries. Some people had fractures and broken bones, so the injuries involve a whole list of different scenarios.
In one case, a pregnant accountant called police after witnessing an attack. She told people they were arresting the wrong suspect, and when an argument ensued, police threw her off a porch and rammed a knee into her back. The city paid her $125,000. Some people fake injuries “prison-itis to avoid being locked up,” Puente says. Police officers “aren’t doctors,” he says, “and that’s part of the debate on how to solve some of these problems in Baltimore and across the country.”