The city of Oakland, Calif., will pay a teen $989,000 to settle her claim against the city after more than a dozen police officers exploited and sexually abused her while she was still underage.
The 19-year-old, who asked the Los Angeles Times to identify her only as Jasmine, made her accusations last year, causing a scandal to rip through the city of Oakland, the Oakland Police Department and the Bay Area law-enforcement community.
Jasmine claimed to have had sex with more than a dozen Oakland police officers, with some of the encounters happening while she was still underage. Some of the officers gave her information about planned police raids and prostitution stings in exchange for sex, she said.
A series of investigations into the accusations last summer led to criminal charges being filed against seven Bay Area law-enforcement officers, discipline against several Oakland officers and the departure of Police Chief Sean Whent. In addition, investigators with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office as well as the Richmond (Calif.) Police Department were fired in the scandal.
“I feel happy that I can close this chapter and move on with my life,” Jasmine said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The Oakland City Council voted on the settlement at 2 a.m. Wednesday and agreed to pay the $989,000 in a 7-1 vote.
John Burris, a civil rights attorney representing Jasmine, said in a statement, “The settlement occurred with no admission of liability, but obviously, if you pay $1 million, you figure you got some responsibility.”
The one dissenting vote came from a councilmember who wanted Jasmine to receive a larger settlement, Councilman Noel Gallo said.
Burris said that Jasmine never officially filed a lawsuit, but a notice of claim was filed last year while Jasmine was represented by a different attorney. Burris said that he is still considering bringing claims against the police departments in San Francisco, Livermore and Richmond, as well as the sheriff’s departments in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Jasmine has made claims against officers in each of those agencies, Burris said.
Burris said that the officers took advantage of a young woman and passed “her around as if she was a kickball or something.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a statement saying the city is ready to move forward from the scandal and foster a culture of accountability and transparency within its Police Department.
“We remain focused on rebuilding the public trust that was so damaged by this incident,” Schaaf said.
From the Times:
The lurid details of the scandal stretch back to September 2015, when a suicide note left by an Oakland police officer suggested he had been engaged in a sexual relationship with a young sex worker in the city’s troubled Fruitvale neighborhood, which includes International Boulevard, Oakland’s main prostitution stroll.
The investigation widened in the summer, when Jasmine, then publicly known by another name, told a television reporter that she had sex with more than a dozen members of the Oakland Police Department as well as officials with other law-enforcement agencies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced charges last September against five Oakland police officers, a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy and a retired Livermore police officer in connection with the investigation.
In January, former Oakland Police Officer Leroy Johnson pleaded no contest to failure to report sexual misconduct with a minor, according to Assistant District Attorney Teresa Drenick. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to stay away from Jasmine, Drenick said. Retired Livermore Police Officer Dan Black pleaded no contest to solicitation of lewd conduct in February, according to Drenick. His judgment was deferred, and the case will be dismissed in May 2018 if he successfully completes probation, the prosecutor said.
According to the Times, four former Oakland police officers and one former deputy from Contra Costa County still face charges in the case, two of whom face charges of having oral sex with Jasmine while she was underage.
In recent months, Jasmine has taken part in anti-sex-trafficking initiatives in the Fruitvale neighborhood where she used to work.
Councilman Gallo, who represents that neighborhood, said he hoped the settlement would be the first step in a long healing process for Jasmine.
“I admire her for where she is today, and certainly all the attention is challenging, but she’s looking for direction,” Gallo said. “And that’s what we’re trying to provide her.”
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.