Officials in the Detroit, Mich. suburb of Dearborn have reached an agreement to pay $40,000 to a woman who received a ticket from a police officer because she was HIV positive.
The ticket recipient is Detroit resident Shalandra Jones, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Jones sued the city of Dearborn after David Lacey, an officer with Dearborn’s finest, pulled over a car in which she was riding for a faulty brake light.
The traffic stop occurred in 2012. Jones filed her lawsuit in January 2014.
“I just rolled up and saw the brake light out, and I thought, ‘Well, you know, what? I’m kind of bored.’ So, might as well, it’s worth a stop,” Lacey, the cop, explained in the lengthy dashcam video of the incident.
It was downhill from there.
Lacey said he smelled marijuana wafting from inside the car. He searched the car.
Jones had medical marijuana in her possession. She told Lacey she had a medical marijuana card. That card was expired.
Jones eventually explained to Lacey that she was HIV positive and used the medical marijuana to treat her condition.
“You just made me mad,” Lacey said.
Then, as Jones sat glumly on the hood of his patrol car, Lacey chose to pontificate on a variety of topics.
“The police do not like people with HIV,” the cop said. Especially him. “I don’t want to come in contact with anything,” he said.
Also, the west part of Dearborn is “a relatively nicer area” but over there in east Dearborn there are “plenty of crackheads, heroin addicts.”
People from Detroit — like, presumably, Detroit resident Shalandra Jones — are the worst, though, Lacey opined.
“Nine times out of 10, we chase someone, they’re in Detroit or Inkster, and we’re going through the house, we’re going through doors, half those houses are falling apart dilapidated, you know, there’s holes in the floor, there’s freaking dog shit everywhere, there’s homeless people in the basement doing God knows what, needles, all that stuff,” the cop held forth. “So I try my best not to take it home with me, and that’s exactly what I want to continue to do.”
Lacey told Jones he was writing her a ticket for having marijuana but only because she also had HIV.
“Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would have wrote anybody for anything. But that kinda really aggravated me, you know what I mean? “You got to tell me right away,” the officer said. “Because at that time, I wasn’t wearing any gloves.”
Lacey also alluded mysteriously to an unidentified man who once made the mistake of not telling the cop he had a syringe in his possession. “Let’s just say he doesn’t do that anymore,” Lacey said, enigmatically. “We get pissed, and bad things happen.”
As an aside, the driver, a man named Mark Scott, had an expired driver’s license. Scott apparently did not receive a ticket at the time for this infraction.
A judge in Dearborn ultimately dismissed Jones’s ticket last year.
Citizens are under no obligation to tell police they suffer from the disease, the Free Press observes.
An attorney representing Jones expressed satisfaction with the settlement.
“I’m glad that Shalandra got some justice,” Detroit Legal Services president Joshua Moore told the newspaper. “It was a pretty clear-cut case with the video. What happened to her was awful. No one should have to go through that.”