Video: Cop wrestles pill out of suspect's mouth in holding room
An internal investigation is underway because of the deputy's use of force
By Phil Trexler
The Akron Beacon Journal
SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — A woman was injured and then charged with resisting arrest after a Summit County sheriff's deputy pried open her jaw after she took prescription Tylenol.
The incident took place in a prisoner-holding room in domestic relations court where Siobhan Householder, 35, said she was told to wait last week while a warrant was being lifted on a charge of failing to appear at a hearing.
The Akron woman went to court on her own May 8 and said she didn't believe she was in custody and, therefore, felt free to take the Tylenol for a tooth infection.
A sheriff's spokesman, however, said Wednesday that the woman was in custody and she was stopped from taking the medication for her own protection.
An internal investigation, as required by department policy, is underway because of the deputy's use of force.
A surveillance camera mounted inside the room shows Deputy Eric Vaughan leaving the holding room with a jail inmate about 2:35 p.m. Householder then walks in alone with her purse, a second bag and a plastic cup of soda and takes a seat.
There is no audio with the video. The deputy and inmate soon return.
After the deputy was there about two minutes, Householder said she took two Tylenol pills along with a sip of soda.
She was taking a third when the deputy confronted her, she said.
"He said, 'What are you taking?' and I said, Tylenol," she recalled. "And he said, 'Spit it out' and I said, 'I can't.' I meant to say I can't spit it out because I had already swallowed the other pills.
"But I didn't even get that part out before he just yanked me up and threw me down on the ground and was trying to dig these pills out of mouth.
"And there was one [pill] in there and I couldn't even get it out because he kept shoving his hand in my mouth and squeezing my face and pulling my hair at the same time."
Wrestled To Floor
The deputy is seen in the video grabbing the woman's hair at the back of her head and taking his hand to her jaw while wrestling her to the floor.
"He was pulling down on my bottom lip and squeezing my face at the same time," she said in an interview Tuesday.
"He basically pulled my lip away from my teeth."
She said she suffered a bruised chin, cuts inside her mouth, bruises to her legs and some hair loss.
At one point during the tussle, the prescription bottle falls to the floor and the deputy picks it up and reads the label.
He eventually appears to collect a single Tylenol pill that fell on the carpeting.
Afterward, Householder, a mother of three, was handcuffed and frisked and her bags were searched. She was then taken to Akron General Medical Center.
"They were acting like I wanted to escape from Alcatraz. It was awful," she said.
Sheriff's Inspector Bill Holland, speaking on behalf of the department and deputy, said a prosecutor ordered Vaughan to take Householder into custody. Householder said she was unaware she was in custody.
"While taking Ms. Householder into custody, Deputy Vaughan witnessed her attempt to ingest several pills. He restrained her for her safety and she was transported to a local hospital where she was treated and released," Holland wrote in an emailed statement.
A court spokeswoman also said Householder was in custody until she could be booked and released.
In fact, jail records show Householder was "remote booked and released on domestic relations case" that same afternoon, either from the courthouse or the hospital.
A magistrate also signed the order lifting the warrant that same day.
Treated At Scene
Paramedics treated Householder at the scene for a bloody mouth. She was in the hospital ER when she was released with summonses on charges of resisting arrest and obstructing official business.
She has a prior resisting-arrest charge stemming from an unrelated incident in April.
Deputies in the courthouse seized her prescribed medications, which include the nine Tylenol and two diazepam tablets. They also seized 26 ibuprofen tablets Householder had in a plastic sandwich bag that were kept in her purse, and three unknown pills they said were in a latex glove. Householder disputes putting any pills in a latex glove.
She has not been charged with any drug offenses.
Copyright 2014 the Akron Beacon Journal
McClatchy-Tribune News Service