Lawsuit claims Alameda County sheriff’s deputies ‘viciously’ beat woman, denied her medical care

An East Bay mother filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, claiming deputies repeatedly beat her to the point of unconsciousness in August 2022, then kept hospital workers from examining her injuries.

Malia Ashad suffered “severe and brutal” injuries from the hours-long encounter, which began at a Hayward courthouse and continued in a nearby Kaiser Permanente emergency room, according to the lawsuit. Ashad also claimed that deputies overruled a hospital doctor’s recommendation she receive a head scan to check for signs of brain damage — reacting instead by again brutalizing her in her hospital bed.

The lawsuit names four deputies — Ryan Connolly, Collin Lenahan, Robinderpal Hayer and Matthew Simon — as defendants, along with a sergeant, Ruth Jones. It seeks unspecified damages for the physical and emotional toll of that day.

A message sent by this news organization to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The ordeal began Aug. 9, 2022 at a Hayward courthouse, where Ashad said she was unexpectedly attacked by a woman whom she had obtained a protection order against. Ashad responded by grabbing the attacker’s hair, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit says Ashad “immediately” obeyed orders to let go of the attacker, yet was placed into an “excruciatingly painful and humiliating position” by deputies, with her hand pinned behind her back.

Then, once separated, a deputy “forced” Ashad into a chair — at which point she fell and hit her head on a table, causing her to bleed and seize before falling unconscious, the lawsuit said. Rather than tend to her, deputies allegedly patted her down and announced Ashad would be placed under arrest for assault.

Later that day, she was taken to Kaiser’s San Leandro hospital, where a doctor ordered her to receive a CT scan to check for signs of brain trauma.

The lawsuit claims Sgt. Jones — who allegedly was “seemingly unhappy that Ms. Ashad’s need for further medical treatment would delay taking her back to Santa Rita Jail” — spoke up against the idea of allowing Ashad to receive a brain scan. Instead, the sergeant allegedly told the nurses, “you’re not taking her to CT; we just need her cleared for incarceration,” the lawsuit said.

When Ashad pushed back against the deputy’s comment, Hayer “viciously” grabbed Ashad’s throat and pinned her to the hospital bed, the lawsuit claimed. Meanwhile, Lenahan allegedly “savagely punched” Ashad in the head, causing her to again fall unconscious.

She endured another punch from Lenahan after she regained consciousness and was placed in a wheelchair, the lawsuit alleged.

“The force of the punch was so great that it toppled the wheelchair over, sending Ms. Ashad to the floor, where she hit her head again,” the lawsuit said. “Despite inflicting repeated and gratuitous uses of force against an injured, unarmed and physically compliant woman, none of the involved Alameda County Sheriff Deputies were disciplined.”

Ashad was charged with misdemeanor disobeying a court order but the case was dismissed in November 2023, records show.

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