A woman with epilepsy who was arrested on Oct. 11, 2014, in Pismo Beach has accepted a plea agreement to lesser charges.
Andrea Hansen pleaded no contest to one charge of misdemeanor public intoxication, resulting in the dismissal of more serious charges for battery of a police officer and resisting arrest. Hansen received one year of probation, a fine of $350, and is required to stay away from bars and liquor stores in Pismo Beach.
Her case stemmed from an incident in which officers were dispatched to a 911 call Hansen had placed after reportedly blacking out from seizures. On a GoFundMe page Hansen created to raise legal funds for her defense, she alleged that officers misinterpreted her seizure-induced state, harassed her, denied appropriate medical attention, and were overly aggressive when they eventually arrested her. She further alleged mistreatment in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
The Sheriff’s Office found no evidence of misconduct, Cmdr. Jim Voge told New Times in December. Likewise, officials with the Pismo Beach Police Department said the officers acted appropriately based on a yet-unreleased video of the incident.
Hansen’s attorney, David Vogel, said his client pleaded to the public intoxication charge because it would have been difficult to shake in court—not because she was intoxicated, he said, but only because she might have had more alcohol than was appropriate for someone with epilepsy.
The primary arresting officer, Leslie Stout, is no longer with the department. Cmdr. Mark Miller declined to comment on Stout’s departure, citing personnel issues, but said it was unrelated to Hansen’s case. He added that the department plans to make the arrest video available now that the criminal case is over.
Asked about the possibility of a civil case, Vogel said he’s discussing that option with Hansen, and he believes there could be grounds for a civil rights lawsuit against Stout.
“I think the resolution of the case was an appropriate one because given her epilepsy, officer Stout—who is no longer with the Pismo Police force—handled it inappropriately,” Vogel said, noting that Hansen was also denied access to medical care.