Family awarded $64,000 for false arrest
A judge has awarded $64,000 to a mother and daughter who were left traumatized after police officers broke down the door to their home in the middle of the night.
After the intrusion at the home in Pinewood Gardens on July 26, 2016, police arrested Britney Neymour in the presence of her mother, Lillyetha Miller.
They both sued the attorney general and commissioner of police for arbitrary arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery and breach of their constitutional rights.
The officers did not permit Neymour to put on appropriate clothing before they took her outside and shoved her in a police van on the outside of her residence in her nightgown and barefoot.
Neymour’s neighbours witnessed the incident to her embarrassment.
Neymour said that police did not tell her that she was the suspected mastermind of a sexual assault on a school friend until she arrived at the East Street South Police Station.
The friend alleged that she was raped by a man at a home on June 15, 2016. Prior to the alleged sexual assault, Neymour and the woman were celebrating her birthday and high school graduation. At the end of the outing, Neymour asked a man she knew to take them home.
They got into a vehicle with four other men. They stopped at the home so Neymour’s friend could use the bathroom. The friend was allegedly raped at the home.
Police detained Neymour for 17 hours on suspicion of sexual assault before they released her without charge. Neymour was jailed for nine months in 2018 after she tried to smuggle cocaine into the United States in her vagina.
While in custody, Neymour said she was held in a cell where the walls were soiled with feces. She said she contracted a rash on her arm that remained for three months due to the filthy conditions.
What’s more, Neymour said her menstrual cycle began while in custody and she was not allowed to clean herself up.
Neymour said psychiatrist Dr. Kirk Christie diagnosed her with major depressive disorder after the incident.
Miller said she suffered damage as a result of the broken door to her home caused by the forced entry of officers on the night that her daughter was arrested. She paid $2,155.43 to repair the damage after police ignored requests to repair the door.
Justice Ian Winder condemned the officers’ actions. He said, “Police officers are sworn to protect civilians, not terrorize them. Even if there was an honest belief that they may have committed offenses, civilians have a right to be treated civilly, respecting their fundamental rights and freedoms as far as possible in any given circumstance.”
Justice Winder said, “There was no basis to reasonably suspect, on balance, that Britney had committed a criminal offence. There was no evidence that anyone, who may have arrested her, did in fact reasonably suspect that she had committed an offence.”