A woman who sued the city of Dearborn, Michigan, after a police officer became angry about her HIV status and ticketed her, has received $40,000 (£26,000) in compensation.
During a routine traffic stop in 2012, officer David Lacey discovered medical marijuana in Shalandra Jones’ car, along with an expired medical marijuana card.
However, after Jones explained to the cop that she was HIV positive, Lacey became enraged that she hadn’t told him sooner. Video footage of the incident shows him expressing concern that he may contract a disease from the woman.
Apparently entirely ignorant to the fact that you cannot catch HIV just by talking to, or even touching, someone with the infection, Lacey flew into a fit of rage and actually wrote the woman a ticket.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the officer said that he ‘did not want to take any diseases home to his family’ and that ‘Dearborn does not have that many people living with HIV, and the police do not like people with HIV’.
He even admitted that he probably wouldn’t have written her a ticket if she didn’t have the disease.
Upon finding out about her HIV, Lacey said:
You just made me mad. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would have wrote anybody for anything. But that kind of really aggravated me, you know what I mean? You got to tell me right away. Because at that time, I wasn’t wearing any gloves.
People in the state are not required to tell police whether or not they are HIV positive.
When she raised the point that the officer had probably dealt with a number of suspects who hadn’t disclosed their illnesses, he actually appeared to brag about beating up a drug addict, which some may read as an implied threat of violence against Ms Jones.
[You have to tell us] so that way we don’t get pissed. Cause otherwise we get pissed. Bad things happen. I found a needle on a guy once and he didn’t tell me. He’s not going to forget anymore!
He sounds like a charming individual, doesn’t he? By the way, officer Lacey is still employed by the Dearborn Police Department and has not faced disciplinary action. The marijuana charge against Ms Jones was eventually dropped.