While some liberals might find listening to the grumblings of Rush Limbaugh to be cruel and unusual punishment, one Houston woman claims she was forced to absorb the broadcaster's "derogatory comments" while detained in the back of a police car.
Alleging violations of her constitutional rights, Bridget Boyd, an African American, filed suit against Harris County and Sheriff's Deputy Mark Goad on Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas.
According to her lawsuit, on Oct. 4, 2010, Boyd was enduring her routine mourning commute on Beltway 8 when she noticed her vehicle began making stalling noises. Rather then let "the car run in the bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic," Boyd states she chose to ride the shoulder for a "few feet" to a spot near the freeway entrance ramp.
"While on the shoulder she saw police lights in her rearview mirror..." the suit states. "While Deputy Goad processed her information Mrs. Boyd attempted to pop the hood of her car to show Deputy Goad that her vehicle was smoking and that she pulled over because she needed assistance."
However, Boyd claims Goad instructed her to get back in her vehicle and then ticketed her for driving on the shoulder. When she protested the ticket, Goad arrested her, the suit alleges.
Boyd then states she began to suffer from an "increased heart rate," and Goad took the woman to a local emergency room. Boyd also complained of "hand pain" from the tight handcuffs.
After the ER detour, the suit states "she was placed in the back of the police car and forced to listen to Rush Limbaugh make derogatory racial remarks about black people through Deputy Goad's radio on her way to jail."
Boyd was taken to jail and processed, the suit states, and at some point during her incarceration, she was brought before a Judge who dismissed the case due to a lack of probable cause.
"However, Ms. Boyd remained in jail, frightened and in pain until 8 a.m. the following morning," the suit states.
She accuses the defendants of unreasonable search, seizure, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, defamation and assault and battery.
On top of punitive damages, Boyd is suing for the emotional distress and mental anguish she suffered and for loss of consortium damages while incarcerated.
Houston attorney Troy Pradia represents her.
Case No. 4:11-cv-03553