A federal jury has awarded a Georgia woman $1 million after being arrested on false allegations of cocaine possession. The woman, who hasn’t been identified, spent five months in jail before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed an analysis revealing that the substance in her possession was not cocaine.
According to FOX 5 Atlanta, a cop stopped a woman on the street for jaywalking and while searching her, the officer thought the woman hid cocaine inside of an exercise ball. She was then taken into custody on false drug charges. The accused suspect spent a month behind bars before the GBI concluded that the victim did not have cocaine on her during the arrest. Even after the investigation, however, she stayed incarcerated under the same charges for four more months.
Bruce Hagen, an Atlanta attorney who played no role in the case, explained to FOX 5 Atlanta what exactly was in the exercise ball. “What was in that stress ball was sand,” said Hagen, who also spoke on the financial verdict granted by the jury. “To have your freedom taken away from you while you are arrested [and] behind bars is a loss of dignity, and it’s human suffering. All of those are elements of the pain.”
It was reported by FOX News Digital that, initially, the officer who made the allegations was ordered to pay the victim, but city leaders under the direction of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens took over the responsibility.
“I applaud the mayor for taking a look at this,” said Vince Champion with the Atlanta chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. “Then you’re going to have police officers that are wondering if is it worth becoming a police officer or continuing this job [when] the thought process of doing my job will take away food off my family’s table and my ability to support my family.”
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