The city of Dearborn has agreed to pay $40,000 to a Detroit woman who was ticketed by a police officer because she had HIV.
Back in January of 2014, Shalandra Jones of Detroit sued the city of Dearborn after police Officer David Lacey berated her for not telling him earlier in a traffic stop that she had HIV. He expressed concern about contracting a disease, according to a video of the traffic stop in 2012 in the western part of Dearborn.
It is not a requirement for people with HIV to tell the police that they have it. Jones disclosed her HIV status after the officer asked her about the medication in her car. He ended up ticketing her on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge; she had a marijuana medical card, but it had expired. The charge was dismissed last year.
“We believe this was an isolated incident with a single officer and not reflective of the behavior of our police department,” said Mary Laundroche, spokeswoman for the city of Dearborn. “Respect for everyone is emphasized in all police department training.”
Officer Lacey admitted to pulling the car Jones was in over because he was bored. Initially, he pulled them over because a brake light was out, but then decided to search the car after smelling marijuana. In the video, after finding out Jones had HIV, Lacey said: “You just made me mad.”
Lacey said he “did not want to take any diseases home to his family.” The officer added that “Dearborn does not have that many people living with HIV, and the police do not like people with HIV.”
For several minutes after Lacey talked down to Jones for her HIV status. He gave examples to her of what happens when an officer “gets angry”, subtly admitting to beating up someone because they had a needle in their possession and didn’t tell the officer.
Jones’ attorney, Detroit Legal Services President Joshua Moore, said: “I’m glad that Shalandra got some justice. It was a pretty clear cut case with the video. What happened to her was awful. No one should have to go through that.”
The settlement between Jones and the City of Dearborn was reached August 31. Check out the video of the traffic stop below.
Source: Detroit Free Press