Lawsuit: Women were not allowed to use bathroom while in custody

Deputy describes 'watefall of urine' in testimony

SAN DIEGO - New evidence obtained by 10News points to problems that may have led to an ugly mess after 11 women were stuck in a sheriff's van and unable to use the bathroom.

In October 2011, after weeks of the Occupy movement occupying the downtown Civic Center plaza, police and deputies in riot gear moved in and arrested more than 50 people, claiming the plaza had become unsanitary and dangerous.

Nicole Gochmanosky was speaking on a megaphone moments before she was taken in. She was put in a truck, and then into a San Diego County Sheriff's Department van about a block away with 10 other women.

She said she asked to go to the bathroom and got this response: "'If you want to go to the bathroom, you're going to have to go in the van.'"

For hours, Gochmanosky said she and others held it before she had to go.

Shackled, she said she shimmied off her pants and relieved herself on the floor of the van.

Gochmanosky said she and others continued to beg for a bathroom, including one woman with an urgent need.

"The driver, who is a deputy, told her to she had to defecate in her pants," said Julia Yoo, Gochmanosky's attorney.

Gochmanosky said by the time they were processed at Las Colinas Detention Facility, some had waited seven hours, mired in smelly filth.

"Just not feeling good … the smell, and you're feeling mentally degraded, embarrassed and starting to feel non-human," said Gochmanosky.

She and nearly all of the women sued the sheriff's department and San Diego Police Department, and Yoo has begun deposing witnesses.

"One of the deputies described what he saw as a waterfall of urine coming out of the van," said Yoo.

More evidence has also surfaced in an internal sheriff's after-action report, which said deputies informed police that due to the short 9-hour notice for the operation, the mobile booking team was not provided for the detail.

"They knew there were going to 30-100 would be arrested, " said Yoo.           

Yoo said poor planning also led to a lack of any portable bathrooms, but she isn't sure why the women weren't allowed to use bathrooms at the Central Jail blocks away. Yoo said a deputy recently testified that those bathrooms were a viable option.

The charges against Gochmanosky and nearly all of the other protesters were dropped.

The City Attorney's Office declined to comment on the matter, and 10News is still waiting for a response from county officials.

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