Officers ask judge to dismiss lawsuit in Tanisha Anderson case

Published: Jul. 8, 2015 at 5:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2015 at 9:01 PM EDT
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Two Cleveland police officers have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit.

They're accused of using excessive force leading up to 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson's death last fall, but both officers say she contributed to her own death.

It was Nov. 12, 2014 when Anderson was having what's being called a "mental health episode." Anderson was bipolar and schizophrenia. Family called 911 and for a second time that night, officers showed up to try and control Anderson. The second time, the officers who showed up were Scott Aldridge and Bryan Myers.

In the original lawsuit, family claims when Anderson had a panic attack in the back of the squad car, officers then slammed her onto the ground and put pressure on her back. In a response filed Tuesday on behalf of the city and the officers, they deny those allegations.

In the lawsuit, they claim Anderson would later go unconscious, stop breathing and officers delayed calling for medical assistance.

In the response, officers admit Anderson was having a mental health episode, but deny their actions caused her death.

In paragraph 38 of the original lawsuit, they claim the officers "acted unreasonably, negligently, recklessly, wantonly, willfully, knowingly, intentionally, and 
with deliberate indifference to the health and safety and rights of Tanisha Anderson."

In Tuesday's response, the defendants deny all allegations in paragraph 38.

Tuesday's response also demands a trial by jury for the lawsuit.


Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney announced last month that his department will initiate an investigation into Anderson's death. Pinkney says his office was asked by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office on June 19 to conduct an investigation and he agreed.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled Anderson's death a homicide, citing "sudden death associated with physical restraint in a prone position in association with ischemic heart disease and Bipolar disorder with agitation."

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