A plea deal has been reached in the case of a Grover Beach woman who accused two Pismo Beach police officers of excessive force after she called 911 for an ambulance during an epileptic seizure and was instead arrested for public intoxication and assault on an officer.
Andrea Hansen, 32, was not in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday, but attorney David Vogel entered a plea of no contest to misdemeanor public intoxication in exchange for prosecutors dropping two other misdemeanor charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
She previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Hansen will receive a $350 fine and one year of unsupervised probation. Superior Court Judge Donald Umhofer also granted a stipulation that Hansen not enter any bar or liquor store in Pismo Beach for one year.
“Honestly I’m not too upset about the outcome because assault on a police officer is a very serious crime,” Hansen said Thursday afternoon. “And it wasn’t true.”
Hansen, who told The Tribune she suffers from juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, a rare form of epilepsy, was arrested Oct. 11 on a street corner in Pismo Beach after she walked out of a pub after having a few drinks and began having a seizure.
She called 911 requesting an ambulance.
Two police officers, including former officer Leslie Stout, arrived first and began questioning Hansen. According to Stout’s police report, Hansen became uncooperative and verbally abusive, resisting arrest and kicking Stout in the leg as he was arresting her for public intoxication.
Hansen previously told The Tribune that the officers mistook her seizures for being combative and repeatedly pointed flashlights in her eyes, making symptoms worse.
She initially began taking cell phone video of her interaction with the officers, but Vogel said Thursday that video has since been lost.
Hansen claims she was denied medical treatment and instead suffered scrapes and bruises from the officers before being taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for a medical clearance. She was later booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail, where she said sheriff’s deputies ignored her requests for medical care as she continued to sit in a holding cell.
Hansen was never given a breathalyzer or a blood test to determine her blood alcohol content, according to police records.
Pismo Beach Police Department Chief Jake Miller said following the arrest that he stands behind the officers’ conduct and said Stout’s body camera footage proves the officers did nothing wrong. That video has never been played in court.
Following the hearing Thursday, Vogel said Hansen reluctantly accepted the plea deal after analyzing the 911 audio where Vogel said Hansen initially told the dispatcher that she “had had too much to drink” and “didn’t know where she was.”
According to the law, a person can be arrested for public intoxication if they have consumed alcohol and cannot care for themselves in public.
“By her own words, she could have been convicted,” Vogel said.
Though Hansen admitted that she had more than a single glass of wine — the limit set by her doctor, she said — she said her words on the audio were taken out of context.
“I told them I drank too much for my epilepsy,” Hansen said. “For my condition I felt that’s all I was admitting to but not that I was legally intoxicated.”
Meanwhile, Stout left the department Dec. 23 after having served as a patrol officer since March 2013, according to the city. Whether his departure was related to the Hansen case is unclear. The city did not release details, citing law enforcement personnel confidentiality laws.
The Tribune has not been successful in obtaining Stout’s body camera footage. Now that the case is closed, the Pismo Beach Police Department is processing a Tribune request for the footage.
Hansen said Thursday she has not ruled out a possible lawsuit against Stout for denying her medical attention that night, she said.
“To me that’s what this is all about,” Hansen said. “It’s not a beef against the police department. This has always been about Leslie Stout.”