jury-awards-$8.25-million-to-black-mom-and-daughters-detained-at-california-starbucks

A jury awarded $8.25 million to a Black mom and her two daughters who sued a California county after they were detained by sheriff’s deputies outside of a Starbucks, according to court documents.

The California jury reached its unanimous verdict on March 1, according to a final judgment filed in the United States District Court of Northern California.

On the morning of Sept. 20, 2019, Aasylei Loggervale was driving her daughters, Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale, then 19, and Aaottae Loggervale, then 17, to their colleges in California, the lawsuit says. The women had been driving overnight from Nevada and stopped at a Starbucks in Castro Valley, California, about 25 miles southeast of San Francisco.

As they were resting in the car and getting ready to go inside to get coffee, two deputies with Alameda County Sheriff’s Office approached the vehicle and told the mother that there had been multiple recent car break-ins in the area, the lawsuit says. One of the deputies asked for her identification, but she refused because, “as a Black person, she feared that the encounter could result in serious physical harm or death to her and/or her daughters,” the lawsuit says.

The deputy continued to insist that she hand over her driver’s license while Aasylei Loggervale repeatedly told him that she didn’t have anything to do with any car thefts, the lawsuit says. At one point, the daughters started to record the encounter on their cellphones.

When Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale got out of the vehicle to use the bathroom at Starbucks, the deputy told her that all three of them were being detained, the lawsuit says.

Deputies handcuffed the mother and daughters and put them “forcefully” into patrol vehicles, the lawsuit says. They then searched the family’s vehicle and belongings, according to the lawsuit.

The mother and daughters were held for several minutes despite the fact that “no reasonable suspicion existed to detain” them, the lawsuit says. They were later released without being cited or charged.

All three had abrasions to their wrists and arms and suffered physical pain as well as “emotional distress, fear (and) embarrassment,” the lawsuit says.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and a lawyer representing the county did not respond to requests for comment from McClatchy News.

The trial, which was held in San Francisco, was held over five days, and the jury deliberated for more than 16 hours before deciding to award the mother and daughters the sum, according to their lawyer, Craig Peters.

Peters told McClatchy News that the most significant part of the verdict for the family, who declined to be interviewed, was the recognition from others that their rights had been violated.

He said the money being awarded won’t change the fact that the women have been traumatized and will always see the world in a different way.

“You can’t replace when somebody takes away your security, safety and privacy,” he said.

A major factor in this case, he said, was the deputies’ subconscious or implicit bias that caused them to treat the mother and daughters like suspects rather than members of the public that should be protected by law enforcement.

“If you retell this story, and you make this family into three white woman, I think you get a very different result,” he said.

The final judgment says one of the deputies and the county must pay $2.75 million to the mother and $2 million to each of the daughters. A second deputy and the county must pay $750,000 to each of the daughters, the judgment says.

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