Nevada County native says she was jailed due to mistaken identity, is suing LAPD
Special to the Sierra Sun
Nevada County native Bethany K. Farber kept telling police she’d never even been to Texas, never mind committed a crime there.
She was arrested anyway last April on a warrant from that state before she could board a flight at Los Angeles International Airport and jailed for 13 days, mistaken for another woman with the same name, she asserts in lawsuit filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Her complaint says authorities didn’t check her drivers license, ask for her date of birth or Social Security number, take fingerprints or otherwise try to confirm her ID before she was stopped before catching a flight to Mexico, interrogated, arrested and jailed.
Officers would have realized they had the wrong person if they looked at photos of the two, her attorneys said in the complaint. The Farber they arrested is a “a young woman with long, blonde hair,” while the other woman is “older with short brown hair,” her attorneys state.
“In this case, what I can say is that they did not check the basic information to determine that Bethany K. Farber was not the other Bethany Farber,” said Farber’s attorney, Rodney Diggs, in a statement Friday.
“This was an experience that no one should go through, especially a law-abiding citizen,” said Farber in a statement provided by her legal team. “You know this is why we have our amendments in place to protect us. We shouldn’t be fearing law enforcement.”
Terry Brodie, Farber’s mother who lives in Grass Valley, said that a friend of her daughter was able to access some of Farber’s accounts at the time that she was in jail, allowing Brodie to print phone records showing that Farber was in California at the time of the crime for which she had been arrested based on a Texas warrant.
Brodie said Friday that, with the help of that friend and another individual, she contacted the person who had written the warrant in Cooke County, Texas, to inform them that “the Bethany that you have is not the Bethany that you want.”
Two days later, according to Brodie, she received notice that the information she had shared was passed along to the Cooke County District Attorney’s Office.
“That is … how it got cleared up,” said Brodie.
According to the complaint filed this week, Farber has “suffered severe stress, anxiety, emotional injury, and mental anguish” as a result of these events last year.
Her attorneys said that this is not only because of the arrest and time spent in jail, but also Farber’s grandmother, described as having been in delicate health, found out that she was detained and “had a stress induced stroke,” from which she never recovered. She died shortly after Farber’s release from jail, they said.
Farber is suing the city of Los Angeles, as well as the city’s police department and airport police.
Officer Drake Madison with the Los Angeles Police Department’s public communications group declined a request for comment Friday, stating this was due to pending litigation.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com
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