An Arizona woman who called police after a Phoenix convenience store clerk refused to let her speak to the manager ended up with a fractured skull when the cop became enraged over the pettiness of the call.
As longtime readers of this site know, it is never smart to call police unless you have no choice.
And a disagreement over lottery tickets with a convenience store clerk is most definitely not a reason to call police because it's like playing Russian Roulette in that you never know if the responding cop is going to turn out to be volatile and abusive.
That is exactly what happened on July 16, 2014 when Martha "Marti" Winkler, described by The Arizona Republic as a "conservative grandmother" walked into a Circle K and tried to buy $3 worth of lottery tickets.
She said the clerk mixed up her order and somehow she did not receive the lottery tickets even though she paid for them. And she says the clerk refused to refund her money, so she demanded to speak to the manager but what refused that as well (or more likely, there was no manager on site).
So Winkler, 56 at the time, decided to call the Phoenix Police Department, thinking "if the store clerks did this with her, they may be doing the same thing to other people and forcing sales that were not actually made," according to the notice of claim she filed in 2015.
The civil jury trial began Tuesday, according to The Arizona Republic, which describes the incident below:
“After thinking that the store clerks were taking advantage of their customers Martha (Winkler) attempted to speak with a manager,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed by her lawyers in July 2015. "The off-site manager refused to help Martha so she called 911 for assistance. Martha waited for an hour for police assistance.”
Gillespie responded. Winkler said, according to the lawsuit, that an already incensed Gillespie shouted at her, “What’s this about?” and spent about two minutes inside before he left the store.
When he came back out of the store he yelled at her for calling 911, she said. Winkler asked that Gillespie contact his supervisor but he refused, the lawsuit says.
“Without any notice Officer Gillespie grabbed Martha (Winkler) and violently twisted her arms behind her back,” the lawsuit says. “Martha’s last memory is of Officer Gillespie pushing her forward.”
Winkler woke up in the hospital with four different fractures to her skull and bleeding in the brain, the lawsuit says.
Phoenix police, of course, have a completely different version.
Gillespie said when he attempted to place Winkler under arrest and grabbed her right wrist, she began to scream and pull away.
The officer said he then tried to grab her left wrist, but said Winkler began twisting her body, forcing him to adjust his balance several times.
During the struggle, he said, several vehicles passed close by, and Gillespie swung her to his right side to avoid being struck.
"Martha had lost her balance and fell in the parking lot, striking her head on the asphalt," he wrote.
Winkler, now 61, was charged with trespassing but the charge was later dropped. She is asking for an unspecified amount in damages and attorney fees.