OAKLAND -- A former U.S. Army Ranger who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has sued Alameda County and its sheriff's office for failing to properly care for his health after being arrested during an Occupy Oakland protest.
Kayvan Sabeghi, 33, of Oakland, claims that he suffered a lacerated spleen after being beaten by Oakland police officers during his arrest and that deputies at the North County Jail ignored his pleas for help until he passed out in his cell.
The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, claims that Sabeghi immediately notified jailers of his injuries when he was booked into jail but was ignored and ridiculed by deputies.
Instead of having medical personnel check him for injuries after he began vomiting and losing strength, Sabeghi claims in the lawsuit that deputies erroneously accused him of being drunk and having a withdrawal from heroin as he laid on the floor of his cell.
While one employee did check Sabeghi's blood pressure, that employee wrongly determined that Sabeghi was a diabetic and an alcoholic, the suit states.
"Later, another County deputy looked into the cell and observed Mr. Sabeghi lying on the floor throwing up. This deputy taunted Sabeghi by stating, 'Don't do heroin,'" the lawsuit states. "He then pointed Mr. Sabeghi out to other inmates and stated, 'see this is why you don't do heroin.'"
It wasn't until about a day later, when Sabeghi's friends posted bail, that deputies called an ambulance for Sabeghi when he couldn't move from his cell.
Sabeghi was taken to Highland Hospital, where emergency room doctors found that he suffered from a lacerated spleen, the lawsuit states. Sabeghi was then admitted into intensive care, where he remained for five days.
The lawsuit, filed by longtime anti-war protester Dan Siegel, seeks monetary damages to pay for Sabeghi's medical care and for the pain he suffered through humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress. The lawsuit also seeks monetary punitive damages.
J.D. Nelson, spokesman for the sheriff's office, did not return calls seeking comment.