Woman claims SFFD paramedic injected her with sedative without consent during abortion protest

Thursday, August 11, 2022
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A woman claims says she was injected with an unknown sedative by SFFD while she was protesting the Roe vs. Wade decision at Chase Center.

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed in the case of a woman who says she was injected with an unknown sedative by members of the San Francisco Fire and Police Department while she was protesting the Roe vs. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Kareim McKnight and a friend, Amanda Piasecki, went to a Golden State Warriors playoff game against the Boston Celtics at San Francisco's Chase Center on June 13.

According a press release from civil rights attorney John Burris, they paid for their tickets and brought a banner to display when the time came. During the first quarter, they pulled out the banner, which read, "Overturn Roe? Hell No!" and walked down the stairs to the main floor chanting, "Abortion on Demand and without apology. Without this basic right, women cannot be free. Rise up for abortion rights."

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As they reached the main floor, they were reportedly surrounded by security guards who asked them to leave. When they continued to chant and immediately dropped to the floor, security guards grabbed each woman and physically dragged them out of the arena to the back room.

Once outside the area, Piasecki was reportedly immediately released, but not McKnight. She says she was held down with a knee in her back and an officer's forearm across her neck, choking her, and was handcuffed and threatened with being injected with a sedative by an SFPD officer. She was then reportedly placed on a gurney and strapped down, where she claims a San Francisco Fire Department paramedic - without her consent - injected her with a sedative.

She was transported to Kaiser Hospital and later released.

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Kareim says her medical records say she was injected with the sedative Versed. She says a paramedic injected into her right arm. "I kept asking over and over, what did you give me?" she says. "I kept asking, how did you know I wouldn't have an allergic reaction?"

Burris says, "Giving an injection to a protester against her will is shocking and illegal. In my entire career, I have never heard of a sedative being given to anyone, especially a fully restrained protester who was not a danger to themselves or others."

Burris continues, "The worse part of giving her the injection was that she was strapped to a gurney, handcuffed, and therefore was not a danger to herself or anyone else. She was stating that she was protesting the supreme court decision."

Burris said he believes the sedative was mean-spirited and designed to "shut her up."

Both the San Francisco fire and police departments deferred all questions to the city attorney's office. A spokesperson for the city attorney's office said they had yet to receive the complaint and could not yet comment.

The city's Emergency Medical Services agency protocol manual says the sedative can be given "for adults with severe agitation posing a danger to self or others."

Burris wants to know why McKnight -- who was already restrained -- was considered a threat.

"The question really is what is the criteria of giving a sedative to a person who is protesting?" Burris said. "You can't just inject someone with a sedative without having more facts for you to justify it."

Learn more about the complaint and lawsuit here.