Former Pennsylvania Hospital Nurse Says Cops Falsely Narced on Her
A former nurse anaesthetist at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and two police officers, claiming that the cops defamed her by making an anonymous call to the hospital to falsely report that she was using drugs.
In the lawsuit, originally filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and now transferred to U.S. District Court, Pennsylvania Hospital nurse anaesthetist Kyle Welch says the whole mess began when she was pulled over by police on a snowy day in January 2014.
Welch says she had gone to Kensington to pick up her roommate, Christopher Poulen, who had finished helping a friend move into an apartment there. While she was returning home, her car got stuck in the snow on A Street. Poulen got behind the wheel while Welch pushed. Once the car was freed, Welch got into the passenger’s seat.
It was then that two police officers — identified in the lawsuit as Joseph Rapone and Christopher Culver — pulled up next to her car. The neighborhood she was in at the time is known for its drug activity, and the cops accused her of having drugs in the car. She said she didn’t, but the police didn’t believe her, telling her that her denials were “bullshit.” According to the lawsuit, when she attempted to get out of the car after Rapone opened her door, he screamed “Did I tell you to get out of the fucking car? Did I? Stay in the fucking car.”
Welch says that she emptied her pockets and that Rapone took her wallet and went through it. He unzipped her jacket and felt inside of it, telling her, “I’m not feeling you up,” she claims.
He asked where she worked, and she told him. “You are a fucking nurse with anesthesia?” she says he asked. Then, she alleges, Rapone threatened to call the hospital and report her for dealing or using drugs in a known drug neighborhood. The other cop asked Poulen if he had any needles on his person and then allegedly threatened to harm Poulen if the cop got stuck with a needle. No drugs were found, according to Welch, and the cops simply drove away.
The next day, Welch says she got a phone call from the hospital telling her that an anonymous report had come in that she was out looking for drugs in a drug neighborhood, and she was required to submit to a drug test, which came back negative, according to the suit. But Welch claims that it didn’t end there. She says the hospital forced her to resign because of the anonymous allegations. She says she filed a report with Internal Affairs and that a police lieutenant interviewed her, but she has been unable to get the results of that investigation.
She is suing Rapone and Culver for defamation, slander, false imprisonment, and invasion of privacy, among other charges, seeking unspecified damages.
The Philadelphia Police Department does not comment on ongoing litigation.
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