An Oregon woman is $82,000 richer after being arrested for simply asking a police officer for a business card. A jury found 10-2 that police committed battery against Shei'Meka Newmann and that she was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted.
When Newmann witnessed officer Aaron Dauchy handcuff a 29-year-old black man outside a commuter train, she asked what the officer was arresting him for. Dauchy informed Newmann that he didn’t have to tell her anything unless she was his lawyer. Newmann then asked Dauchy's partner, Jim Sandvik, for his business card. When the officer refused, Newmann approached Sandvik to read the name on his uniform, and Sandvik then struck her in the chest and twisted her arm back before arresting her.
Sandvik testified that Newmann was screaming and ignored lawful orders to stand back. Sandvik also claimed that he was in the middle of handling four drunken men when Newmann approached him from behind. However, the security video told a different story to the jury. The video showed multiple officers standing around doing nothing. Another officer backed Newmann's story by testifying that she was polite and did nothing to interfere with the officers.
The criminal case against Newmann was dismissed when Sandvik failed to show up to court. She says that she never intended to sue, until the students she mentors encouraged her to stand up for her rights. "The biggest thing to me is, I still believe the good guys win and justice prevails," said Newmann after the verdict. "And yes, there is accountability for the police."
We're sure the next time a civilian asks that officer a question, he'll be quick to answer.
Read more at Oregon Live.
In other news: A New Study Shows That African Americans Aren't Saving.