El Paso County has settled an excessive force lawsuit with a former Colorado College student who was arrested back in 2014 for threatening to run over a group of people with her car. After being book into jail, 25-year-old Philippa McCully was injured when one of the deputies placing her in a holding cell pulled her legs out from under her causing her to fall and hit her head.
According to the lawsuit, McCully’s arms were being held behind her. She reacted to the "leg sweep" technique by trying to break her fall with her knee. In the process, her knee was fractured and she suffered torn ligaments and deep bruises on her face, torso, and legs. The lawsuit further claims that McCully never received medical treatment for her injuries during the 5 days she was held behind bars.
As part of the settlement agreement, McCully will receive $675,000. Undersheriff Joe Breister told the board of commissioners that the Sheriff’s Office has since changed its use of force procedures. Leg sweeps are no longer used to restrain inmates. Additionally, all instances of use of force are recorded digitally using a new software system that prepares regular monthly and quarterly reports for command staff.
Money for the settlement will come from the County’s Excessive Insurance Carrier. McCully pleaded guilty to a single charge of menacing in 2015 and was sentenced to 3 years probation.