A California jury has awarded more than $8 million after a black mother and her two daughters were detained by local police at a Starbucks.
The incident happened in September 2019 when Nevada mother Aasilei Lodgervale was taking her two daughters to college in California. The trio stopped at a Starbucks in Castro Valley, California. to rest and were approached by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, according to court documents. Two deputies told the women they were looking for suspects in a recent car theft and asked for their identities, Loggervales filed a lawsuit against Alameda County.
Loggervale refused to show his ID and was then “forcefully” grabbed and handcuffed after getting out of his car with his daughters. According to court documents, the women were apprehended by deputies as the mother tried to walk to Starbucks to use the restroom.
According to the Loggerweils’ suits, their hands and wrists were lacerated in the incident. Lawyers for Loggervales argued that the deputies involved – Steven Holland and Monica Pope, both white – stopped their client because he was black. The complaint accuses the two of assault, battery, false arrest and violation of constitutional rights, among other charges.
Last week, a jury unanimously ruled against Holland and the Pope, calling their actions “illegal.” Holland and Alameda County must together pay the mother $2.75 million and each daughter $2 million, while Pope and the county must pay each daughter $750,000, the latest order states.
“The community’s trust in my agency is fundamental to my mission of maintaining positive relationships with the people we serve,” Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez said in a statement to CBS News. “The facts of this case are very important to me and members of our community, but I must reserve my judgment until the case is fully resolved through the court system.”
Craig Peters, one of Loggervales’ attorneys, said his clients received that amount in part because California’s Ban Act allows for triple damages if the case involves a violation of an individual’s constitutional rights.
“I think they just fished, it goes back to racial profiling,” Peters told CBS MoneyWatch of the deputies who attended the incident. “The police have a lot of power. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and in some cases it’s a bad thing, which we’ve seen a lot lately.”
Dashcam footage of the incident shows Holland asking Loggerweil for her ID and the mother instructing her daughter to record the interaction on her phone. Holland then asks Loggerweil why her daughter is writing.
“I have to be defensive because I don’t know where this is going to go,” Loggerweil said.
Loggervales was never charged or accused of a crime, the lawsuit said. Their lawyers also said the incident was inappropriate because the police report indicated that the carjacking suspects were male.
According to Peters, Holland and Pope were promoted within the sheriff’s office after the incident. In addition, the Loggerweil sisters are enrolled at UCLA and UNLV and will both graduate this spring, he said.