*A transwoman in Atlanta has won a million-dollar lawsuit against two police officers who wrongly accused her of drug trafficking.
A federal jury ordered one of the officers accused of profiling Ju’Zema Goldring to pay her $1.5 million. The case stems from Goldring’s arrest in October 2015. Her attorneys said she was walking across the street when APD officers stopped her and accused her of jaywalking.
Here’s more from 11 Alive:
As officers took her into custody, they searched her belongings and found a stress ball in her purse, according to Goldring’s attorneys. An APD officer then cut open the stress ball and tested it for cocaine, attorneys representing Goldring said. The test came back negative, however, APD still filed a charge against Goldring accusing her of trafficking cocaine, her attorneys said, alleging that officers lied about the presence of drugs.
“She consented to them cutting it (the stress ball) open because she knew it wasn’t a substance — and even that wasn’t enough,” Goldring’s attorney said.
Goldring spent nearly six months in jail. Further repeated tests for cocaine came back negative. She was later released and her charges were dismissed.
The police department insisted that the tests were false negatives.
“It was clear these officers were lying,” Goldring’s lawyer Miguel Dominguez said. “The best they were able to come with at trial is maybe they needed more training.”
Goldring took legal action against the police department and last week, a federal jury awarded her a $1.5 million verdict.
Judge William M. Ray II noted that the point system within the police department could have contributed to Goldring’s arrest.
The point system, per MadameNoire, “gives officers a certain number of points for taking different actions, like an arrest or writing a traffic ticket.”
Officer and supervisors face consequences for not getting an adequate number of points.
“The Court is concerned that such a system may create perverse incentives for officers,” Ray said in a statement.
He added, “As it turns out, it wasn’t drugs at all, but she spent nearly 6 months in the Fulton County jail based on this seemingly bogus charge. The Court hopes the APD and the City of Atlanta might consider reforming these practices.”
“If you’re going to police the citizens this way, you’ve got to be ready to compensate them when it goes wrong, and so this is the city’s first chance to make right on,” Goldring’s attorney said.