In 2013, Judith Gray wandered away from the hospital where she had been admitted for treatment for bipolar disorder. The hospital asked the police to bring her back. Because she was experiencing symptoms of her illness, she refused to go with the police officer. The police officer closed in on Gray, and she turned toward him. He then grabbed her by the shirt, took her to the ground, and tased her simply because she did not voluntarily give him her hands for handcuffing.

Gray sued the police officer and the Town of Athol in February 2015, alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The district court dismissed the case, and the ACLU of Massachusetts appealed the decision in August 2018.

In its appeal brief, the ACLU of Massachusetts argues that the case should move forward because a jury could find that the officer used excessive force by tasing Gray. The brief also argues that the police officer may have discriminated against Gray by failing to modify routine police practices, despite knowing of her bipolar disorder.


Matthew Segal and Ruth Bourquin (ACLU of Massachusetts); Claudia Center (ACLU); Richard Neumeier (Morrison Mahoney LLP)