A 91-year-old woman says she was left with bruises and burns so severe she had to be taken to a nearby hospital in Bonita Springs, Florida, earlier this month after a Lee County Sheriff deputy pushed her arms behind her back before handcuffing her in her own driveway.
Dorothy Friedenreich is still recovering nearly a week after the incident but says whenever she looks at the pictures of her bruised arms, she instantly remembers the pain and fear she felt.
“He handcuffed me with these red hot handcuffs. He burned my arms they were bleeding. The blood was all over my driver’s license,” Friedenriech said.
A Lee County Sheriff’s deputy, who has not been publicly identified, handcuffed her in her own driveway after she failed to stop at a stop sign.
Friedenreich said she didn’t even see the sign and that the deputy seemed angry with her.
“He was mad because he thought I was running away from him,’ she said. “He took my two arms and he pushed them behind my back until I was screaming ‘help; help; you’re killing me, you’re killing me’ and I’m crying.”
The deputy also wouldn’t allow her to call her husband Arnold, who was right inside the home at the time.
“The officer acted inappropriately. The police department [sic] acted appropriately,” said Friendenrich.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno offered a personal apology to the Friedenreichs after learning about the incident.
“I was sickened,” said the sheriff said in Wednesday’s press conference.
When Sheriff Marceno saw the pictures, he was unsettled. He said it reminded him of his own grandmother.
“And, if this had happened to her, words would not express how I feel and what I would want to say or do,” he said.
“I’m 91 years old and I’ve never- I’ve only gotten one ticket in my whole life,” Friedenreich said.
“I was absolutely horrified,” said Lois Friedenrieuch, Dorothy’s daughter. “I couldn’t believe it. You know, she looked like she was burned in a fire.”
“I felt awful because I couldn’t do anything because I’m here in Jersey, and she’s over there,” Lois said. “And, you know, I just felt helpless.”
Sheriff Marceno says the deputy did not use common sense and compassion after Lois’s mother started walking back inside her home, and he says changes are coming.
“I can tell you that common sense is not always common,” Marceno said.
The deputy who handcuffed Friedenreich has since been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, effective Wednesday morning.
“I guess the police officers need to be trained better,” Lois said. “What they can do and what they can’t do, you know? What their boundaries are … Hopefully it’ll never happen to another person. It was awful.”