Inside the purse, the officers found a stress ball, which they cut open, inspected for drugs and claimed to have found cocaine inside, the lawsuit states.
Ms. Goldring believed that “they were joking,” the lawsuit states, but they were not.
Officers Henry and Restrepo took Ms. Goldring to the Fulton County Jail. There, she saw the officers conduct drug tests on the substance inside the stress ball and heard one officer tell Officer Henry, “Give it up, buddy,” after multiple test results came back negative, the lawsuit states.
The officers then told Ms. Goldring that she would have to wait in jail until test results returned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, her lawyers said. Her alternative was to pay her bond set at $25,500, which she could not afford.
While in jail, Ms. Goldring was placed in a dorm for people who identify as transgender women, yet she was still subjected to sexual misconduct, her lawyers said.
Ms. Goldring remained there for five months and 12 days until March 22, 2016, a day after her charges were dismissed. The G.B.I. had determined on Nov. 17, 2015, that the contents inside the stress ball were not cocaine or any other drug substance, the lawsuit states.
In his ruling, Judge Ray said that there were “two seeming injustices that came to light at the trial.” The first came when Atlanta police officers testified that they arrested people for jaywalking — a troubling practice, Judge Ray said, because such low-level offenses could “seriously disrupt a person’s life,” leading to discrimination. He said that officers’ energy “could be better spent on more pressing activities, such as addressing violent crimes.”
The second concern for the judge arose when the chief deputy of the Atlanta Police Department, Darin Schierbaum, testified that officers work under a system that rewards them with points for making a traffic citation, an arrest or other actions.