TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – The Tulsa Police Department is now facing backlash after an October 2021 arrest of a 70-year-old woman in a mental health crisis started making rounds on social media.
The startling 6-minute video of the incident was made from body camera footage of Tulsa police officers in a Tulsa business last October.
A woman named LaDonna Paris, 70, was suffering from a mental health crisis with her bipolar disorder and locked herself in the bathroom.
She was later arrested and spent a month in jail.
After a month, she was released with no charges.
The Tulsa Police Department released the following account of the incident:
Now, Solomon-Simmons Law office is taking on her case.
“SolomonSimmonsLaw has been retained to represent Ms. LaDonna Paris, a 70-year-old- Black great-grandmother and seminary student who was taunted, harassed, and antagonized by Tulsa Police Department officers before they brutalized her while placing her under arrest for behavioral manifestations of a mental health disorder in October 2021. The TPD officers involved were fully aware that Ms. Paris was suffering a bipolar manic episode, yet they still viciously provoked and attacked Ms. Paris while laughing off her disability as if it were a joke. We are disgusted by this outrageous behavior caught on video and the fact that the Tulsa Police Department has attempted to shift the blame for the incident onto the victim of a mental health episode and police brutality. We are even more troubled by the Tulsa Police Department’s frequent practice of ignoring and even outright condoning their officers’ discriminatory treatment and humiliation of, and violence toward, people who suffer from mental health disorders, especially African-Americans. We plan to hold a press conference in the near future so Ms. Paris can speak about her experience and look forward to doing everything in our power to hold the officers involved in the attack and the Tulsa Police Department accountable for their shameful and unlawful, discriminatory actions and to seek justice for Ms. Paris. #JusticeforLaDonna #BlackLivesMatter”Damario Solomon Simmons
Tulsa police said at the bottom of their statement that outside of the officers laughing and joking during the situation, which has been addressed since it can “be received as unprofessional,” their overall actions were within department policies.
The attorney now representing Paris said they were “disgusted by the outrageous behavior” of the officers.
“This is going to be so fun,” said Officer Ronni Carrocia as they worked to get Paris out of the bathroom.
The Tulsa Police Department released the full 90 minutes of body camera footage after the 6-minute viral clip made its way around social media and criticism began to arise.
The full clips of body camera video can be viewed below:
Officer Shanks – Tulsa Police Department body camera video 1
Officer Burns – Tulsa Police Department body camera video 2
Officer Root- Tulsa Police Department body camera video 3
Officer Carrocia – Tulsa Police Department body camera video 4, part 1
Officer Carrocia – Tulsa Police Department body camera video 4, part 2
“She’s just spraying air freshener,” Carrocia said outside the bathroom door.
The officers were called to a local store in town where they found Paris locked in the bathroom. Employees of the business stated they wanted her gone. At one point, Paris asked to speak with the manager from inside the bathroom. They called the manager, since she was unavailable at the time, and spoke to her over the phone. Paris did not believe it was her and dismissed it. Police also said Paris had an aerosol can and a lighter and was trying to start a fire. After trying to get her to leave, police said they contacted a crisis response team who told them they were busy with another call. In the video, Carrocia can be seen laughing while hitting the door handle with her foot and pushing on the door.
“I love my job,” she said.
In the video, officers also acknowledge that Paris was having a mental health episode. Police tried to get Paris out for about 34 minutes. At one point, Carrocia grabs her taser.
“Do you want to get tased?” Carrocia said.
“Do you think this is funny? I’m not laughing,” Paris said in another part of the video.
After Paris wouldn’t come out, police kicked down the door and went in.
Paris was battered and bloodied after the incident.
Police said in their statement she suffered a minor injury to her face during the arrest. They also said Paris resisted to getting into the car and kicked an officer.
An officer can be heard in the video saying that Paris is just “tacking on more charges.”
Police said that Paris eventually did cooperate with them.
It’s also important to note that the charges Paris has were dismissed by a judge due to her mental health status.