A black family consisting of a mother and her two daughters just won an $8.25 million lawsuit against a California county whose deputies allegedly hassled them during an incident that occurred in 2019.
The mother, Aasylei Loggervale, had pulled into a Starbucks near downtown San Francisco when she and her daughters were approached by deputies concerned about a recent rash of car break-ins.
After explaining the situation to Loggervale, one deputy then asked to see her ID. Instead of complying, she decided to make a fuss.
“Why do I have to give you my ID?” she asked.
“Are you doing anything wrong?” the deputy replied.
“No,” she said.
“Then what’s the big deal,” the deputy noted.
“I don’t have to give you my ID,” Loggervale replied, doubling down on her intransigence.
“Uh, yeah, you do,” the deputy responded.
“No, I don’t. No, I don’t. No, I don’t. I know the law,” Loggervale replied.
Fed up with her, the deputy eventually demanded that everybody be detained and handcuffed so that he could search the vehicle. The family wound up being detained for an hour on suspicion of car theft but eventually released.
Following their release, the family sued Alameda County, claiming they’d been “forcefully” detained because of the color of their skin.
“Attorneys for the Loggervales argued that the deputes (sic) involved in the incident — Steven Holland and Monica Pope, who are both White — stopped their clients because they are Black. The complaint accused the two of assault, battery, false arrest and violation of constitutional rights, among other charges,” CBS News reported.
A jury ruled in their favor this week.
“The jury … unanimously ruled against Holland and Pope, calling their conduct ‘unlawful.’ Holland and Alameda County together must pay $2.75 million to the mother and $2 million to each daughter, while Pope and the county must pay $750,000 to each daughter, the final order shows,” according to CBS News.
That comes out to $8.25 million in damages, an extraordinary amount, critics argue, for a family that could have avoided the whole debacle by simply showing their IDs.
On Wednesday, a jury awarded the Loggervales $8.25 million in damages, concluding a years-long lawsuit against Alameda County, Holland and another deputy who assisted in handcuffing the family members. pic.twitter.com/sUheFJTDGF
— J.M. Hamilton (@jmhamiltonblog) March 8, 2023
“This is vindication and validation for the Loggervales that they’ve been wronged, and that means a lot. They’re a rather private family. But they felt that what had happened was really wrong, and so they were willing to file the lawsuit and try to hold the sheriff’s office accountable,” the family’s attorney, Craig Peters, reportedly said Thursday.
Interestingly, the family was offered a $700,000 settlement prior to the jury’s verdict.
“That amount wouldn’t have even covered attorneys fees. And more importantly, we wanted change. They didn’t offer to change their policies. They didn’t offer to do more trainings. There wasn’t any ‘and,’” Peters told local station KTVU.
More fascinating still is that Holland and Pope were promoted to sergeants after the 2019 incident occurred.
Indeed, according to KTVU, an Internal Affairs investigation ultimately found that the two had done nothing wrong.
“Capt. Daniel Brodie, who investigated the Loggervale case for the IA department at the time, testified that he made his decision based on reading the deputies’ incident reports and reviewing the body camera,” KTVU notes.
“I had all the facts that I needed recorded on video,” he testified.
But he also admitted that he hadn’t checked any recent crime reports to gauge whether Loggervale and her daughters looked anything at all like the suspects responsible for the recent rash of break-ins outside the Starbucks.
In his own report, Holland, the guy seen speaking with Loggervale in the bodycam footage, wrote that the suspects, four to five young black males, had been driving in a gray or silver sedan.
“Holland wrote in his report that he was suspicious when he saw the Loggervale’s rented silver Cadillac with Nevada license plates parked in the disabled spot outside. He wrote that it was too dark to see that there was a valid placard in the front window,” according to KTVU.
“Holland also wrote that when the elder Loggervale wouldn’t identify herself ‘because she had done nothing wrong. This heightened my suspicion that criminal activity had been taking place,'” KTVU reported.
Brodie reportedly argued in court that Loggervale’s refusal to show ID generated enough reasonable suspicion for Holland and Pope to detain her and her daughters.
But Peters wasn’t convinced.
“And so even though the only suspects were described as African-American men, you believe there was still sufficient reasonable suspicion to detain mother?” he reportedly asked Brodie in court.
“Yes,” Brodie replied.
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