Torture and Medical Neglect of Dr. Shelton at Cook County Jail – Episode 1
County of Cook )
State of Illinois )
I, Linda L. Shelton, declares as follows:
I was released 10-22-02 from cook county jail. I was charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Battery to a Peace Officer (class 3 felony – possible sentence 2-5 years) and a Bail Bond Violation (class A misdemeanor – possible sentence 6-12 months – [FOUND NOT GUILTY BY JURY TRIAL FOR TRESPASS AND THIS BAIL BOND VIOLATION ON OCT. 17, 2003]). I am a pediatrician and was a witness against Governor Ryan and DCFS in federal and state courts. I have also testified extensively against vaccine mandates. In addition I have documented illegal conduct of a chief judge, extreme official misconduct of child protection officials, police profiling of my patients, police brutality of my patients and friends, and extreme misconduct of sheriff staff at Bridgeview Courthouse and the Jail. This has been forwarded to the FBI and Illinois Attorney General.
I have severe asthma and a severe allergy to tobacco smoke – within minutes, I can go into respiratory failure. I also had a recently herniated lumbar disc, used a cane to walk due to a weak leg, am a pacifist – never hit back, and have heart trouble. I have had 34 pretrial hearings and a four (4) day trial on the misdemeanor trespass charge. I have been defamed and slandered by Christ Hospital administrators (complainant on the criminal trespass charge) who committed perjury in their testimony at trial. During these hearings I collapsed three times at Bridgeview Courthouse due to my medical problems and had to be taken by ambulance to Christ Hospital twice- one time admitted in respiratory failure.
At the security entrance at Bridgeview, I put my keys and my 2002 Republican Gold Medal (I was going to show the judge as evidence of my good character) in the basket. The guards yelled at me that the medal was a heavy object, I couldn’t take in and that they had told me previously not to bring it. I told them it was evidence of my good character and I was showing it to the judge. The guards yelled at me to put my bag on the scanner. I said I couldn’t lift it because of a herniated disc. I told them I could further injure my back and the doctors told me not to lift anything. They said, “well you got it out of your car.” I said, “no, someone helped me.” They yelled at me that they were not my servants. I politely stated that the Americans with Disabilities Act required them to accommodate me. They would not and kept yelling. I said I would leave my things there and go up to the court and ask the judge to assist me in getting my things through security and walked through the security gate, which did not beep. They knew I had a court hearing, and would be charged with bail jumping and an arrest warrant issued if I didn’t show up. The guards ordered me back outside of the gate and yelled to put my bag on the scanner. They pushed me a little to go out the gate and I complied. I went to the desk and asked the guard to call the courtroom and inform the judge I wasn’t coming up because security would not let me through the gate. He said he wouldn’t call. I then knew if I didn’t go up the judge would issue an arrest warrant. I said I have to go up and would proceed through the gate. I said my bag had my court papers that I needed and they were violating a court order for me to be in court by detaining me illegally.
I grabbed my keys and cart handle in one hand and the gold medal and my cane in the other and walked through the security gate. A female guard, Deputy Rebecca Doran, pushed her body in front of mine and I tried to squeeze past her to the side, and avoid touching her. She moved her body and we gently bumped together, with me trying lightly to walk past her, at which time she began pushing me out through the gate. I lost my balance and my arms went flailing. My right arm bumped against her arm. Then she grabbed at my right arm and tried to hit me with her left arm and I defensively tried to block her with my right arm to protect myself and my back from injury. I suffered a bruise on the mid-right forearm, where she hit me. I don’t remember what she was saying. I felt she was trying to hit me. I was trying to move backwards and regain my balance. I felt disoriented after being hit and being forced backwards, and may have lost consciousness briefly or lost touch with what was going on. I don’t remember being moved or moving from the magnetometer to about 10 feet away near a glass wall. I don’t know if I blacked out from my heart condition and arrhythmia or whether I have amnesia for this time because of acute stress disorder because I had never been attacked by anyone before, especially an officer.
I next found Sheriffs all around me, who twisted my arms behind my back and squeezed my elbows tightly behind my back. I was confused, weak, and only semi-aware of my surroundings for a few moments. I remember hearing someone yell “what do you want to do with her,” but being a bit fuzzy in my vision and not knowing exactly who was around me, except that they were in uniforms. Someone else yelled “press charges,” and they handcuffed me, but I do not remember this well as I believe I blacked out briefly. My back was twisted and strained during the incident and began to hurt more. ”The Deputy states I tried to stab her with a key and claims she has scratches on her arm and was bleeding. The ER report states she had a “2 mm scratch (red mark) at the bend of her left elbow with a 3 X 6 millimeter very superficial abrasion.” Two guards then grabbed my arms and pushed me into the Sheriff’s office. I stumbled walking due to my weak leg and back pain and had to ask them to slow down and be gentler. I later found out the deputy who attacked me was Deputy Rebecca Doran and she was also the brute who dragged me into the Sheriff’s office.
In the Sheriff’s office they sat me down on a bench. I was in pain from my back and a little in shock from the ordeal. I had my formal jacket and coat on. I quickly became overheated and felt faint. I laid down on the bench and the female guard yelled at me to sit up. I said please I’m about to faint and then Deputy Wilger came over when I said please take my coat off, I’m feeling sick. Deputy Wilger has seen me become ill and knew I had medical problems. He instructed me to stand up. I said I couldn’t without their help due to my back pain. I said please help quickly or I’ll faint. He and the other Deputy gently and quickly stood me up, removed the cuffs, removed my coat and jacket, re-cuffed me, and sat me down again. Then I laid down on the bench again and began to cool off and feel a little better. At that point it was obvious, they had to put me in a wheelchair. When I turned from my back to my side, because the cuffs were very uncomfortable and my back pain was getting worse, to try to relieve the pain, the female Deputy yelled at me to keep still. I told her please be kind, I was just trying to relieve my pain a little. Then she stopped yelling at me. I was then taken down to the Bridgeview Courthouse lock-up, in the basement, after being held a short while in the Sheriff’s office until they could find a wheelchair, placed in a cell, read my rights, and informed I was under arrest for Aggravated Battery of a Peace Officer. Basic demographic information was requested and I gave it to them.
I was put in a wheelchair and handcuffed to the chair. Just prior to the Bond Hearing around 3:30 p.m., a Public Defender came down to a room they put me in to interview me. I kept having to put my head down between my knees to keep from fainting, partially due to increasing dehydration, and was unable to talk much except say I was sick and my medical needs were being neglected and could she please ask the judge to order them to help me. At the Bond Hearing I kept getting faint and didn’t hear everything. Someone said I pushed a guard and injured her. I don’t remember everything. The Public Defender was appointed and said something. I don’t remember what she said. The judge said something and I know he said to take me to Cermak and Bond was set – I wasn’t sure exactly what they said, as I kept feeling faint and losing touch with what was going on. About 4:00 p.m. they finally allowed me to make two phone calls. I had to keep resting my head on the desk to keep from fainting. I kept dialing the wrong numbers because I was a little confused and very weak. A guard dialed them for me after hassling me. They did get my wallet and pulled out the phone number for an attorney as I requested. I called a friend to take care of my son and inform him I was arrested for a felony, being taken to County Jail, and left a message for First Defense that I needed a lawyer. I then was taken back to the holding cell to wait for transport. I felt very faint and at one point laid on the floor with my feet elevated on the bench. At no time did a guard ask if I needed help or express any concern. I did ask several times for something to drink, and they just kept saying drink the water in the cell – the faucet also works as a fountain. No one bothered to take me to an ER or ask about my medical condition.
They refused to transport me by ambulance to Cermak or even lying down in a police car. Because of my severe health problems, I wrote a letter to the Chief Sheriff Lyons at Bridgeview months prior to the incident, if I were again taken into custody that exposing me to tobacco smoke would kill me. When they arrested me on Oct 22 at about 10:00 a.m., I pleaded with them to protect me from tobacco smoke and to be allowed to lie down, as their roughing me up aggravated my back, I was in severe pain and I knew that if I was put on a prison bus I would be exposed to tobacco smoke and could die, as their record of attending to medical needs quickly is poor. I feared for my life.I refused to get on the bus around 4:30, and reminded them I had severe medical problems, but they forced me under threat of “restraining me and forcing me onto the bus and throwing me onto the floor for transport.” There were three big guys. A male Sergeant also was yelling to put me on the bus. They said the judge ordered me to be taken to Cermak Hospital – the jail Hospital. They said one of the guards was a paramedic to try to calm my fears. I then got into the wheelchair with assistance under protest, but was terrified that they would ignore my medical needs and allow the other prisoners to smoke. They literally pushed and shoved me up the bus stairs and onto the bus, as my right leg is weak, and dragged me to a seat with their arms around my waist and my arm on a guards shoulder trying to walk. They did let me lie down on a seat without restraints, but with no seat belt. They allowed me to keep the inhaler, but not the Epipen®. They forced me on the prison bus and did not prevent the other prisoners from smoking. In fact, they told about 10 other prisoners to go ahead and smoke!
The guard at the front of the bus did yell at the prisoners to stop smoking, after a few minutes, and he opened a window when he saw I began wheezing and I asked him to protect me from the smoke. I began to wheeze on the bus, and it steadily worsened during the ride, until I was barely breathing at a rapid rate, not moving enough air to wheeze. Just before you stop breathing and die from asthma, you become quiet. I knew I had very little life left, and tried to remain calm, meditate to relieve the pain and keep breathing, and forced myself to breathe (rate of 30 or 40 breaths per minute -imminent respiratory failure, previously when my rate was close to 40, I was hypercarbic and hypoxic). They did allow me to carry my inhaler. I used it ten times on the bus – too much and endangering my heart problem. The paramedic guard did not check on me, but inmates behind me kept asking how I was doing and I said worsening, until I no longer could talk. One inmate behind me started to pray for my safety and another one kept urging me to hang on and breathe. She offered to spray my inhaler for me, but I shook my head because I knew I could no longer breathe deep enough to take in the medicine. The inhaler didn’t help and by the time we arrived at County Jail – I was unable to talk, and barely moving air.
They yelled at me to get up and get off the bus, and forced me into a sitting position. They then called for other guards, and took the other prisoners off first. I think because I was not audibly wheezing and unable to talk, they thought I was faking medical problems. The paramedic guard yelled that if I didn’t walk off the bus, I wouldn’t get medical help, and that I was being uncooperative. They called other officers dressed like a SWAT team and verbally threatened me.
A female guard then came on the bus and sat next to me telling me to cooperate and get off the bus. She finally seemed to understand I was unable to comply and very sick. They noticed my cane and that I had difficulty moving. They called for a wheelchair and a medic from the Cermak ER. The paramedic guard grabbed me around the waist and helped and forced me off the bus and put me in a wheel chair, with the assistance of a supervising Sergeant. A medic then noticed I was going into respiratory failure (breathing rapidly with no sound and heaving retractions of neck muscles and chest, and becoming a little incoherent), complained that they should have told him they needed a gurney and that it was an emergency and ran with me into the ER. I slumped over in the wheelchair on the way to the ER and may have lost consciousness for a time.
The doctors and staff worked on me, immediately giving me oxygen and continuous albuterol nebulizer treatments in the wheelchair. After the oxygen revived me a little, they tried to get a history but I couldn’t talk well and tried to write it out a little. I was getting very weak. I wrote “history in bag” and they found my medical history in my briefcase. They then put me in a bed and guards processed me in the bed (stripped, searched, numbered on my arm with a magic marker just like at Aushwitz, fingerprinted), while the staff worked on me. They attempted a blood gas unsuccessfully. It was aborted because I began having apneic episodes (stopped breathing multiple times) and they had to irritate me with strong pain, by rubbing my sternum with their knuckles, patting my cheeks and talking loudly to look at them, to keep me breathing. Essentially I went in and out of consciousness several times. Between this stimulation, I am a little unsure of what happened. They had great difficulty starting an IV, as I had multiple puncture marks, where attempts were made, probably because I was cold and dehydrated, and I think besides the asthma attack, I was going into a syncopal attack, with poor circulation and with abnormal heart rhythm. I believe I heard them say my blood pressure was stable and pulse 100+.
They were mistaken as my normal pulse is slow due to digoxin medication and my heart condition – around 60. Rapid pulse is an indication of dehydration, shock, or a reaction to medication. I had shaking chills like a massive epinephrine release a ½ hour or so later, making me think I had been syncopal. After numerous nebulizer treatments, I was able to tell the doctor I needed at least 2-3 liters of fluid rapidly and I needed to lie flat. He gave me 1 liter and sat me up to help me breathe, but laid me flat when I became a little incoherent on and off. I know they took off my clothes and searched me, took Polaroid pictures of me, inked a finger and took a print, and numbered my arm with a marker while the medical staff worked on me. I don’t remember everything because I was becoming incoherent on and off.
Then they called an ambulance for urgent transport to St. Anthony Hospital (It’s the closest hospital – they usually take a prisoner to Cook County Hospital if the jail hospital cannot handle the problem, but they take prisoners to St. Anthony’s if they are critical, or look like they will need urgent intubation). I was shackled to the stretcher in the ambulance and accompanied by a guard. At St. Anthony’s they treated me while my right arm was handcuffed and left leg shackled to the bed with very heavy chains. It was difficult to get comfortable and bend my knee due to the weight of the heavy belly chain the guards attached to the leg shackles in order to chain me to the bed. The liter of fluid, and lots of albuterol nebs was already starting to work, and I was feeling a little better by the time I went to St. Anthony’s. I was no longer having episodes of apnea or episodes of incoherence. I know the doctors were given a copy of my medical summary, which I carry with me in my bag. I felt numerous episodes of extrasystoles/palpitations, but the doctor said the EKG was normal. I don’t believe they noticed the palpitations on the monitor, but I saw a few skipped beats myself after I was a little better. The EKG was actually abnormal both at Cermak and at St. Anthony and suggested an evolving heart attack with ST wave depression (ischemia). I had prominent chest pain, but didn’t complain because it was small compared to my excruciating back pain. I was presyncopal and in mental shock from this ordeal and said very little, so I was unable to adequately express my discomforts – partly out of fear of the guards. The standard of care in this situation is to admit the patient to the hospital for at least 24 hours with continuous EKG monitoring, with total bed rest, aggressive pain control, nitroglycerin to dilate the coronary vessels and serial cardiac enzyme tests to determine if the person had or is having a heart attack.
After another 4 or so hours I was breathing better, but still in need of asthma medications every few hours. They gave me a sandwich and 4 oz orange juice and some water. They said my labs – cardiac enzymes, etc were normal. However they had done only one set of enzymes. They said that I didn’t need admission as Cermak Hospital could handle further medication orders and lab orders. I was transported back to County Jail lying down in the back of a police car. At first the guards shackled my legs and were going to handcuff me, but when I said I had a herniated disc, they saw I was in pain and needed their help to get off the bed and into the wheelchair, they took off the shackles and declined to handcuff me. I was dressed only in two gowns and socks.
On arrival at the jail at around 10:00 p.m., they wheeled me to processing for an ID picture, and took me to the clinic. I waited 2 or more hours at the clinic, sitting in a wheelchair feeling faint, before being seen by a nurse and the doctor, who verified I was stable enough to be sent to 3E. It was a very quick check – a few seconds when the doctor listened to my lungs – and I was unable to tell the doctor everything I needed, except fluids. This was a totally inadequate assessment. In the clinic waiting area, after seeing the doctor two hours after arrival, a guard gave me a quart of water, saying “don’t say daddy never gave you anything,” and I guzzled it down. I was still thirsty. Several kind inmates went to the bathroom and got me two small 3 oz cups of water, and covered me with their jackets and blankets as I was shivering intensely to the point of rigors – rattling the wheelchair, in the cold room, after drinking the quart of ice water. I will never forget the genuine kindness of these inmates, many of whom are guilty of serious crimes, and the cruelty of the guards who try hard to intimidate and threaten everyone as a means of control with extremely foul language and constant physical threats and extreme verbal abuse.
It appears the goal of the guards is to make you act as if you had just been beaten to a pulp, with total submission and slave like behavior, with constant acknowledgement of the guards control over you. Cattle are treated with more respect. The guards act like a pack of wolves, and make you feel like you’re about to be beaten up every minute. They treat the mentally ill and injured equally badly, if not worse, because they cannot instantly jump to commands and get water themselves. It is obvious that at least a third of the inmates are very mentally ill. There are a few kind and proper guards, particularly the chaplains. I waited another hour in the clinic for a transport guard. I was admitted to Cermak 3E prison infirmary unit around 1:30 a.m., Oct 23. I used the toilet once after slowly walking to the toilet in the room – they gave me a walker. All rooms have single stainless steel toilet, sink units with push buttons for flushing and water. The buttons are hard to push when you are weak. There is no soap. There is a short privacy wall in front of the toilet. The rooms are cold and toilet seats so cold that it is difficult to urinate. I was shivering all night in a hospital gown, one sheet and two blankets – one I half rolled up as a hard pillow, to try to ease my neck spasms. The rooms have no oxygen outlets and are really just cells with hospital beds and a small cabinet for each prisoner. The “hospital” cells at Cermak are cinderblock with a high Plexiglass window next to the hall and a very heavy steal cell door. There is no call button or way to get help except to hit the door or Plexiglas window with your hand, which is difficult if one is sick.
I understand why there are excessive deaths at Cook County Jail. They are due to medical neglect and lack of proper monitoring. I understand why activist Ms. Molina (a diabetic in a wheelchair) and an asthmatic with emphysema (Mr. Bruck) were found dead in their cells in the morning. This was involuntary manslaughter due to willful medical neglect and is inexcusable. It is unbelievable to me that this is not being properly investigated and criminal charges have not been filed. Without medication or monitoring, someone who is sick and ignored at night will die. With insufficient staff suicides are high (60 per year at least). Cermak is not a “hospital”. It is a death trap.
I feared for my life, but was optimistic, as they seemed sedated. The other five or so prisoners on the units were orthopedic patients with amputations or other medical problems. I asked for pain meds several times during the night, by hitting the window, and they opened the locked cell door twice, yelled at me that I was uncooperative and should stop making noise, and said I would have to see the doctor the next day. My back pain was very intense. They refused to call the doctor, although one is available 24 hours. I told them, that I told the doctor I needed double fluids, not just water, but something with salt, pain meds, fluorinef, potassium, and my pressure hosiery. I go into mild shock if I don’t take fluorinef and push fluids and salt. They ignored me and said the doctor would have ordered it if I needed it. I said he may have forgot, I was a doctor with complicated medical problems, and I knew what I was talking about. I told them I faint easily because of a condition and go into asystole. I pleaded with them to talk with the doctor without success. They laughed and berated me. They didn’t even give me Tylenol.
I told them, I was having increased difficulty breathing, and that my back pain was severe. The third time I tapped on the window to the cell they ignored me. A nurse is present on the ward and a doctor available 24 hours, but the prisoner must come out of the cell to have vital signs checked every morning and the nurse does no regular checks of the patients/prisoners. If my asthma would have worsened, I might have been found dead in the bed in the morning. The bed has a hand crank for the head and foot. I had to raise it myself with great effort by turning the cranks to elevate my head and feet, so I wouldn’t faint and so I could breathe better and relieve my back pain a bit. They do not give out pillows or socks or shoes, even though I said I had had neck surgery and get painful muscle spasms if I sleep without a pillow. They did not check on me at all through the next few hours. I was denied shoes or slippers and only had the socks the hospital gave me to cover my bare, shackled feet, since the guard and nurse at the Cermak emergency room had stripped me of my clothes.
I was unable to sleep due to the pain. I was mildly short of breath. The second time the nurse answered my tap on the window, she threw me an albuterol inhaler, when I asked for asthma medicine. I used it several times during the night. As there is no clock and watches are confiscated, I had no idea how often I was using the inhaler, but I estimated my breathing rate and pulse and tried to use it if I felt increasing air hunger or my respiratory rate was above 25-30. I was shivering intensely, which helped keep me from fainting. My pulse was increasing and my skin and perfusion was poor so I was concerned that I was getting further dehydrated and shocky. If my asthma or condition had worsened, I’m sure they wouldn’t have noticed and I’m sure people die in there of neglect, because of what I saw and experienced.
A prisoner is issued one small towel and told you must use it all week. I rolled up the slightly damp towel I used to wipe my hands and tried to use it as a roll behind my back to ease the pain. Linen is changed once a week. In the infirmary 3E unit, Cermak “hospital”, you are required to wear a hospital gown and change into prison uniform when off the unit. You can take a shower if you are able to by yourself, but I was too weak. The guard didn’t even tell me where to find the shower.
They ordered me to go on the bus to a court hearing the next day at 6:00 am after waking us up at 5:00 a.m. to eat and dress. I knew my condition was not good as I was very shaky, weak, and found it difficult to walk even twenty feet with a walker. They refused to help me with the breakfast tray, or in opening the heavy cell door after they unlocked it in the morning. They refused to help me dress. I refused to dress or go on the bus, and cried and pleaded that I did not want to die, and that I really had a serious fainting problem where my heart stops, that I needed more fluids, not just water, and did not wish to be exposed to tobacco smoke again. They refused me more fluids except water, which I had to get myself.
Eventually after very nasty threats, yelling and screaming at me and threatening bodily harm with military looking SWAT team dressed officers, calling in a number of guards to deal with an uncooperative inmate (me), accusations that I was whining and faking illness, a (God Bless) sensible Sergeant ordered that I be protected from tobacco smoke and transported in a wheelchair van, after verifying my story with the jail doctor. The hall guard and nurse had told the other guards they called in I was faking my weakness, uncooperative, and should be dealt with severely.
They gave me prison garb and I changed slowly from the hospital gown to the prison garb. They made no effort to assist me. My panties were very wet from sweating (due to pain and presyncope, not from the cold) and I took them off. I asked for underwear and was only provided a mesh pair, really just meant to hold a sanitary napkin. I pleaded to be allowed to talk to a doctor. The nurse called the doctor and received an order for a nonsteroidal pain med. I told the nurse I couldn’t take it because it makes me bleed. She became angry when I told him I needed Vicodin and Valium, and called him back and he approved Tylenol with Codeine, but she refused to push for Valium, which I needed to calm my back spasms. After neurosurgery two years ago, the best combination was a half dose of Vicodin and a half dose of Valium – they worked together synergistically very well without sedating me too much. Valium is a potent muscle relaxant used after spinal surgery for muscle spasms. Narcotics and Tylenol do nothing for the spasms. She offered me a full dose of Tylenol with Codeine, but I only took a half dose so I wouldn’t be too sedated at the court hearing. They refused to let me talk with the doctor – as I am a doctor and know what I need very well, that was most appropriate, and I wanted to tell him I didn’t want to be over sedated for the hearing and I was increasingly dehydrated. No one offered to help me, despite my obvious weakness, pale appearance, and back pain. The transport guards were visibly angry that I was walking too slowly with the walker, so they got the wheelchair.
They took me to the jail clinic and said I would see the doctor first because I said I needed my heart medications. There were very few people in the clinic and after a particularly vicious tirade by a guard against an obviously mentally impaired inmate, I related to him that treating the mentally impaired or any human being like that only makes them angry, and that I control people in my clinic with kind respect. I suggested certain responses and language appropriate for a guard. He said he had 16 years experience as a guard and that the only thing that works is verbal abuse to control inmate scum. He thought this was a riot, was amused, but he had a good conversation with me and agreed to try this.
It did work nicely with the inmate – the guard seemed stunned, and I discussed the need for all of us to treat each other with absolute respect with all the other inmates, and they seemed puzzled but agreed when I called them sir and ma’am, shook their hands, and said I respected them all as human beings and hope things go well for them and if they had committed crimes they owned up, paid the price, and went on with their lives in a more productive way. I explained to them, I was a doctor, was charged with Aggravated Battery of a Police Officer, which made them laugh and brought the house down – even the guard, as I’m such an obvious physically impaired wimp, and that my philosophy was nonviolence, equal treatment for all, civil language, open-mindedness, and admitting one’s mistakes. They urged me to run for office and said they would vote for me, unless I ended up in jail. They all seemed to think I was set-up and I don’t disagree. I never did see the doctor, and they transported me by wheelchair van to Bridgeview lock-up at the courthouse. After about an hour the pain medication helped quite a bit and the partial pain relief lasted until about noon.At Bridgeview courthouse, I again was placed in a cold cell from early morning until transport back to County Jail at 6:00 p.m. Most of the time I spend lying down, feeling faint, shivering to the point of intense rigors on the cold bench, with severe pain from about noon to the time I was released from County Jail, went home and took pain meds. I asked several times, but they denied me a prison jacket or a blanket. There were numerous other prisoners also loudly complaining about the cold conditions. The guards just yelled at them to shut up and be patient, that transport was coming soon. I was too weak and incredibly dehydrated, to ask loudly or excessively for relief from the cold. The guards simply ignored me. I was denied food and too weak to drink from the fountain until after the court hearing, when I was given a little lunch. I had not had any sleep because of intense back pain, was very weak from the asthma episode and arguing with the guards and so little food or fluids.
At the hearing, which was postponed from the previous day on my misdemeanor trespass charge, the judge observed that I was confused, pale, and nearly passing out (from dehydration and malignant neurocardiogenic presyncope, as well as my asthma ordeal – essentially early shock). My father and friends at the hearing later told me they were stunned at my appearance (yellow white color, barely able to sit leaning against the IV pole on the wheelchair), and they thought the judge should have called an ambulance.
Judge Smerciak was recklessly negligent in not ordering an immediate medical evaluation in a hospital, when I requested medical assistance. They did allow me to keep my inhaler with me and I used it several times, every few hours. I was able to tell him I had been at St. Anthony’s in respiratory failure due to exposure to tobacco smoke. The Sheriff Sergeants said they could not confirm that I spent any time in a hospital, and didn’t know anything. The judge passed the hearing until they could confirm this. There were also fresh needle sticks, bruises from them, and bandages on my arms from the IV site. He postponed the hearing because he stated I it was obvious I couldn’t follow what was going on, and ordered me held in custody at Cermak, unless I could Bond out, informed my father and me of the Bail amount of $17,500 ($10,000 for the aggravated battery and $7,500 for violation of felony bail bond on the trespass charge – which was unlawful and illegal, as the trespass charge was a misdemeanor – the statute for felony bail bond violation only applies to felonies. Therefore, even though I was found innocent, the Court Clerk kept $175 as a fee for processing the bond = 1% of the bail. I believe that it is felony fraud and makes the IL Bail Statute unconstitutional for the Clerk to charge different fees to different people for the same service. If your bail is $1000 as it usually is in a misdemeanor, her fee to process the $100 check is $10. However, if your bond is $100,000, her fee to process your $10,000 bond check is $1,000. $10 and $1000 are very different amounts for the same service. This encourages judges to set outrageous bails in Illinois. Cook County bails are 5 to 1- times as high as in the rest of the country and should all be considered outrageous and unconstitutional as a result.), and ordered that I have access to my personal court file, while in the jail. The bond judge had approved a charge of violation of felony bond – this is an illegal and unauthorized charge as I has not been previously charged with a felony. The constitution prohibits made-up charges outside of that in state statutes.
While transporting me to the courtroom in a wheelchair, I heard a guard say “We thought she was faking it yesterday (with her back).” The guard that checked me into the lock-up seemed stunned at my weak, pale, appearance and arrival by wheelchair, and asked what happened. I said: “I told you I could die if I went on the bus because of my critical allergy to tobacco smoke and that I was sick. I was exposed to tobacco smoke on the bus, stopped breathing and had to be revived and taken to the hospital. I hadn’t been given medicine or fluids that I needed and felt extremely weak as if I was going to faint.” After I said that, the Deputies disappeared and I was escorted from that point onwards by Sergeants. The guards from that point onward helped me in and out of the wheelchair.
Another prisoner, Mr. D – also transported in the wheelchair van, was very concerned about me because, on the way to Bridgeview Courthouse, I turned white in the van, became a little incoherent, and had to put my head between my knees, despite the back pain to keep from passing out. On the way back he said my color was better but that he overheard a male guard state how they had “body slammed that woman they arrested the other day so badly she hurt her back and ended up in a wheelchair today.” He gave me some advice about surviving at Cermak and County Jail and was very kind. He actually gave me his jacket to keep me warm on the way over, because the County did not give me a jacket to wear and Mr. D said he knew my back would go into spasm if I didn’t warm up. At Bridgeview they would not allow the jackets in the holding cell. I believe the inmates who helped me get water, stay warm, urged me to keep breathing, and gave advice about survival, may have saved my life. I will never forget this. I will also never forget the subhuman treatment, with extreme verbal abuse, physical torture with lack of adequate fluids and medicine, cold stress, lack of attention to medical and physical needs, which endangered my life.
I am now still suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety (flashbacks where I seem out of touch with things, crying episodes, and anhedonia). I don’t know when this nightmare of defamation, unlawful arrests, and attacks that have ruined me financially, destroyed my career, made me indigent and homeless – except for the charity of others, damaged my health, and severely hurt my son, family, friends, and patients, will end. It is only faith that has sustained me, along with a few loyal friends and family. It is astonishing and troubling how easily people believe defamation, how quickly “friends” believe it and abandon you, how easy it is to defame and destroy someone by falsely stating they are crazy and violent, and how true it is that “evil prospers when good men fail to act.”
I now have a very personal understanding of how the Jewish professionals felt in WWII, how the screenwriters felt during the McCarthy era, and how my uncles felt as they were “disappeared” by Soviet agents during the 1956 revolt in Hungary. Their battle cry to their death was “Topra Magyar” (to your souls Hungarians!). Sadly the false promise by the United States over the radio that they would help the Hungarian revolt was only a lie and thousands died, the people were subjugated for years and the United States was tarnished. I pray people around me will grow to understand the meaning of the word solidarity, and the sacrifice that so many people made, during so many recent times in recent history, to remove corruption and secure freedom. I have sacrificed so much, as has my family, in order to protect the children and their parents, especially the handicapped and abused, in Illinois. I will not run away from this evil, or fear it. I pray that my faith keeps hate from my heart. I believe in truth and justice and the United States Constitution.
Even in our darkest hours, like the McCarthy era, light eventually emerges and the path to truth and justice overwhelms evil. I never just talked the talk. I always walk the walk, and do what I say. I will not abandon the path I have taken to seek justice, or I would dishonor the souls of so many who have sacrificed so much before me. I want to build a better place for my son to prosper in, in the future. I worry, that I may not be able to think straight in the courthouse at future hearings/trial, and may shake uncontrollably as I had done for days after recovering from the dehydration due to flashbacks of suffocating while the guards were yelling at me and flashbacks of shivering to the point of rigors while in excruciating pain. I received psychotherapy for a year for these mental health consequences of torture and defamation, and still have much trouble with depression and trouble with flashbacks and anxiety around police dressed in black or SWAT uniforms.After the hearing they gave me a lunch, I drank the 8 oz of juice (flavored corn syrup) and forced myself to get to the water fountain in great pain, trying not to pass out, and drank about 10 containers of water (88 oz). I am prescribed huge doses of salt each day by my doctor to counteract my extremely low blood pressure and tendency to go unconscious. They wouldn’t let me have the necessary salt. The medicine I take causes me to have low potassium levels if I don’t take potassium pills and eat. I forced myself to eat one cold baloney sandwich. I think this was contributing to my extreme weakness. Low potassium levels inhibit muscle activity and cause extreme weakness. I had only had one cold turkey sandwich, 4 oz orange juice, 4 oz water at St. Anthony ER, and 6 oz milk, 2 oz juice (the rest was frozen solid) and a little cold cream of wheat with a piece of bread at Cermak, and the quart of water in the clinic, in 24 hours. The lack of food and salt made it impossible to retain this fluid and I quickly lost it through urination. Cermak ER had pushed 1 liter saline rapidly intravenously at my request at about 5:00 p.m. I kept trying to instruct the doctor, what was wrong with me and how to treat me and he mostly was very kind, but complied only partially, probably due to his ignorance of my unusual conditions and because he’s asked to see too many patients in too short a time. My fluid needs are at least 2-3 liter per day without stress, 4-5 if stressed, with high salt so I can retain the fluid. The drinking and eating gave me some strength and I was able to get back to County Jail without passing out.
The jail was very dry, I was sweating a lot from my ordeal and presyncopal symptoms (losing a lot of salt needed to retain the fluid), which were almost constant, and breathing fast much of the time, so I knew my fluid losses were great and salt deficit mounting. I also had had flu symptoms with diarrhea for the previous four days (a mild virus), which already had mildly dehydrated me. My pulse was rapid around 100 suggesting severe dehydration and my skin turgor remained poor. I remember very little from the previous day’s Bond Hearing, as I was nearly passing out, seated in a wheelchair with my head down. My symptoms were largely related to severe dehydration (medical neglect, as a need double the normal fluid requirement daily), lack of salt (medical neglect, as I need a high salt diet) lack of my medications and pressure hosiery (medical neglect), and asthma caused by exposure to tobacco smoke (medical endangerment). I found a piece of paper with a public defender’s name on it and a court date in my pocket in the prison garb. The bond slips give a court date of Oct 29 at 9:00 a.m. for ABPO and 9:30 a.m. for VOBB room 103. I was told that my misdemeanor trespass hearing was continued until Oct 29 at 9:30 a.m.
After eating and drinking fluids in the evening at Cermak 3E (a carton of milk and lots of water), and finally receiving my heart medications, I was able to walk a short distance without feeling faint. They continued to deny me salt, and the food had very little. Between returning from Bridgeview Courthouse, until I was released, I stayed in bed as I kept feeling like I might pass out. The nurse and guards were unbelievably cruel, in ignoring my needs – they acted as if they would ignore me if I fell over dead, and I feared for my life. They wouldn’t help me get around, open the heavy cell door – you have to come out to a table to get meals and must clean up and place the tray by the unit door on the floor when finished, kept yelling at me and not believing what I was saying about feeling faint, saying I had an attitude problem or ignoring me. They refused to call the doctor and ask for pain meds, refused me extra fluids, as my condition requires. They refused to allow me to make a phone call to a lawyer or family.
The second day, one of the inmates told me we could use a phone collect, but my friend’s number and several lawyers numbers had answering machines and you can’t get a collect call to an answering machine. I stated that I was entitled to a phone call upon arrival to County Jail and they said if I couldn’t get through they wouldn’t let me use another phone. One of the inmates said the social worker comes by on Thursday and that she would contact my lawyer and family if I asked her to.
When discharged, they told me to come to the clothing storage room to get my clothes. I walked very slowly there and the guard kept yelling at me. I felt very faint and had to sit at the table with my head between my knees. The guard stood over me and yelled at me to move it. I finally was able to dress with great effort. They told me to walk and when I couldn’t they got mad yelled at me, but got a wheelchair. The prison is very large and I was not able to walk a long distance. They yelled at me to wheel myself in the wheelchair, until they noticed that there were no large side wheels, and someone had to push me. They took me in a wheelchair to the discharge area, then denied me a wheelchair or my cane.
The other inmates being discharged allowed me to lean on them through the four-hour process of being discharged, waiting in lines and very hot holding cells with almost no ventilation, and walking down long halls, were very concerned because I looked pale and weak, and the guards allowed me to sit down frequently as I was looking pale. I didn’t know if it was day or night or what day. I thought it was the morning of 10-24-02, but an inmate told me it was 8:00 p.m. on 10-23-02 – I had only slept for about an hour when they woke me up to Bond me out – not overnight as I thought. I kept putting water on my arms, face, and neck in the holding cell, and lying on the bench, to keep from passing out. One of the inmates smoked in the discharge locked holding cell despite my protests, but fortunately there was a fan that was blowing the smoke out. It still started an asthma attack, but I was able to control it with four puffs from my inhaler. The guards didn’t check on us for over two hours during waiting in the holding cell, so I knew if I had a severe asthma attack, I could die.
At the last stop, before exiting the jail, you retrieve your property, I only had a receipt for my medicine, but a previous guard had said I had three items. At home, I later found another receipt in my briefcase – they put it there while I was at the hospital. The guards refused to look for them and said I had to come back the next day. I said I couldn’t go anywhere without my cane and that all my court papers, which were very important were in my bag. I refused to leave, and after lots of verbal abuse and threats of arrest for disorderly conduct, the guards finally looked for my property and found it my cane, coat, and hand-cart. They insisted I sign a receipt for my property before I checked it. I objected and they took the property back, said I had to retrieve it the next day, and made me wait and argue that I needed it. Eventually, because I sat down patiently stating I wouldn’t leave without my property, they gave it to me and also found my briefcase. When I received my property (large bag with court papers, wallet, rings, cane, wheeling cart, coat and jacket, some medicine had disappeared), I had to walk a short distance, outside and through another building, to where my family and friend were waiting and then they assisted me out to the car.
On my way home, I was very weak and took a long time to recover. I kept feeling light-headed and felt frequent extrasystoles to the point I was afraid to drive or I might pass out. My right leg weakness is worse and is being followed by my neurosurgeon. I have a congenital defect in my back and had neurosurgery of the cervical spine in 2000, where they reconstructed C3 to C7 in a very major operation. My whole spinal column has this defect. That, I think, is why the herniated disc is causing a right leg paresis. The battery by the Sheriff made my right leg weaker and my back pain worse. I have followed up with my cardiologist, who feels I did not have a major heart attack, but started me on new medication due to the increase in episodes of chest pain and shortness of breathe since release from the jail. Other cardiologists are reviewing the possibility I may have had a mild heart attack. This cannot be verified as serial enzymes and EKGs were not checked at the time.
Treating them with respect is not enough – they want the response of a slave – yes master, please master, type stuff. If you disagree with anything, even if you are right, they give you grief with physical threats, shoving, extreme verbal abuse, and say you have an attitude problem. They pick out their favorites among longer-term inmates, who have learned to act like slaves, and give all newcomers hell. Some of these hardened inmates assist the guards in making life difficult. The nurses on the floor act the same way.
The nurses in the clinic are a bit nicer, but some treat you roughly as if you are a violent, foul type of person. Guards and nurses enjoy immensely giving a doctor/inmate/”violent batterer of police” a hard time and putting me down at every opportunity. Intimidation and threats are used, and large numbers of guards are quickly called if you disagree with anything. This “beater squad” (the SORT team [similar to SWAT]) is well known among the inmates for their extreme physical brutality. The food is really extremely bad, cold, and saltless/spiceless, but adequate in volume. Cold crème of wheat without salt (I call it cold crème of wheat on a stick), cold overcooked unsalted, steamed vegetable from a can, and cold stale bread, is hard to swallow. The diet appears to be very low salt. Only milk and juice (mostly colored corn syrup) are given to drink. No tea, coffee, or pop. A small carton of frozen partially real juice is given only in the morning. The availability of fluids is inadequate. During long hours of processing in and out of the jail, a prisoner may not drink fluids because they are not available or the fountain on the sink is too dirty and they are afraid of catching an illness. Stress increases fluid loss and fluid requirements and the jail is very dry which increases fluid losses. Therefore, fluid requirements at the jail are higher than normal. I saw numerous prisoners who were being processed out of the jail who were clearly very dehydrated to the point of profound weakness and pallor. This is a problem that needs correction and is very dangerous for the health of persons with diabetes, neurocardiogenic syncope, or adrenal insufficiency.
I was admitted to hospital 11-15-02 to 12-02-02 for treatment of post-traumatic stress and depression due to the above incident. I shake and get very nervous now around any police officer or driving by police or on entry into the courthouse. I have to partially sedate myself to enter the courthouse in order to go by the guards without suffering a flashback or becoming incapacitated by shaking and anxiety. I had NEVER been violently hit or beaten by anyone before in my life! It is particularly difficult to pass by Deputy Doran or her associates who illegally attacked me, violated my rights, and are maliciously prosecuting me in violation of law. I am undergoing continuing psychiatric treatment to deal with this problem. I also was admitted 2-20-03 to 2-22-03 due to, basilar migraine, chest pain, presyncope, and orthostatic hypotension from neurocardiogenic syncope and a mineralcorticoid deficiency. I seem now to be dependent on supplemental mineralcorticoid or a high load of daily salt and water, to maintain my blood pressure. My right leg has partially recovered its nerve function but I still have motor deficits at the ankle and foot – this may be permanent.
Under penalties as provided by law pursuant to Section 1-109 of the Code of Civil Procedures, the undersigned certifies that the statements set forth in this instrument are true and correct.
November 29, 2004 _______________________________
Linda L. Shelton
It is important to remember the famous research study done some years back at Standfor University about behavior among inmates and guards. A fake jail was made and college students were divided in half – some “guards” and some “inmates”. The study astonishingly had to be stopped after two weeks because the guards became so inhumane and brutal and the inmates were suffering mentally so severely.
This proves that empathy, civility, and reason, disappear in the face of expectations, lack of supervision, and primitive instincts. We must have extreme oversight in prisons, unbreakable rules to protect the inmates, and swift severe punishment for guards whom cross the line into brutality, criminal behavior, abuse (verbal or physical), medical neglect, rape, and torture.
If we want to teach criminal behavior, brutality and crime by the example of the guards, increase the death and injury rates of peace officers because released inmates are so angry and filled with such hate for being tortured, have continued punishment on the outside with lack of jobs, lack of housing, loss of rights, and the difficulties with expunging minor records then we will continue on the present path.
If we want to reduce crime, decrease injuries and deaths among officers, and increase humanity in our society then we will move towards rehabilitation, education, restoration of rights once a sentence is completed, away from the stigma of being an ex-con as long as one has really been rehabilitated, strict oversight of guards, away from supermax prisons that are clearly torture chambers, and increase drastically mental health care and civilian oversight of prisons and jails, as well as post-release assistance with integrating back into society.
COOK COUNTY JAIL IS A TORTURE CHAMBER WITHOUT PROPER OVERSIGHT OF GUARDS, WITHOUT PROPER SCREENING OF GUARDS TO WEED OUT BULLIES AND SOCIOPATHS, AND WITHOUT VIDEO CAMERAS TO DOCUMENT THE PHYSICAL BRUTALITY OF THE GUARDS. THE DOCTORS ARE OFTEN INCOMPETENT TO THE POINT OF ENDANGERING LIVES. THE JAIL NEEDS TO BE PLACED IN RECEIVERSHIP, UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WITH FEDERAL MARSHALLS MONITORING THE PLACE.