Date: October 2010
Most targets of the NYPD's highly controversial stop-and-frisk program are male and minorities, which makes this case exceptional. Back in October 2010, Jaime Rutkowski was slammed to the pavement before being arrested by NYPD officers for smoking a joint outside of a Manhattan nightclub. Rutkowski was at her cousin's bachelorette party on the Lower East Side when she stepped outside for a moment. In a segment from the documentary The War on Weed, she says she screamed for help because she thought she was being attacked; she wasn't even aware that she had been tackled by a police officer. She was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.
At the same time, the police didn't realize that Rutkowski was a Type-1 diabetic. Her blood sugar levels were elevated due to the high-stress scenario, and at the station police confiscated the blood sugar meter she used to determine how much insulin needed to be injected into her body. Three hours after Rutkowski was taken into custody, police finally called an ambulance, and emergency responders soon learned that her blood sugar had risen to four times the normal level. According to her attorney, Joel Berger, she could've went into a shock, slipped into a coma and died. Rutkowski was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center and released.
Rutkowski was charged with a class B misdemeanor and a judge gave her an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, meaning she was not subject to a fine and her case would be dropped and sealed within a year. In other words, the life-threatening ordeal was a complete waste of time. Rutkowski and her lawyer filed a civil suit against the city and the officers involved, and was awarded $125,000 in July 2011.