BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Tiandra Higgins says her face is left with bruises and a bloody eye.
“I thought I was going to die, I thought they was going to kill me,” Higgins told KMOV.
She says she was assaulted by staff at the St. Clair County Jail, just to the east of St. Louis in Illinois.
She says last week after leaving a Clayton doctor’s office, she hopped on MetroLink. Exhausted, she says she fell asleep but later awoke at the end of the line at the Fairview Heights station.
“I think because I feel asleep on a train they thought I was a homeless person,” said Higgins.
Higgins has hypertension and is a diabetic. She says she began to feel lightheaded. A MetroLink employee called police after he says she threw a cup of water at him for telling her to leave the station.
“I was thinking I need to get back on the train and get back to where I belong,” said Higgins.
St. Clair County deputies arrived and took Higgins to jail.
“When I got to the station, I was telling them that my vision was blurred,” said Higgins.
But she says during booking, guardsmen assaulted her not once, but twice, after asking her to change into jail clothing.
“That’s when I turned around to get the officers off of me, and that’s when they started beating me, ripping my clothes off, punching me in my face, choking me, kicking me,” said Higgins.
Higgins says she believes the employees mistook her medical condition with not complying.
“I only defended myself as a human being would if somebody did that to them,” said Higgins.
The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said it can’t comment because this case is under investigation. It did say Higgins is charged with two counts of assault on a correction officer.
A spokesperson for MetroLink told KMOV its protocol for security guards to tell riders to get off the train at the Fairview Heights station because it’s the end of the line.