Sheriff’s deputies unlawfully held a Black family outside of a Starbucks in Northern California, according to a federal jury’s verdict. They must now pay $8.25 million in damages.
“This is vindication and validation for the Loggervales that they’ve been wronged, and that means a lot,” said the family’s attorney Craig Peters.
Aasylei Loggervale, a Nevada mother, was driving her two daughters to California for college in September 2019. According to court documents, the trio stopped to rest at a Starbucks in Castro Valley, California and were approached by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies in the parking lot before they could enter the establishment.
The plaintiffs alleged that the deputies, who are white, told them that they were under investigation for “car burglaries committed by unidentified Black men” in recent months.
According to NBC News, Loggervale refused to show her driver’s license. She and her daughters, ages 17 and 19 at the time, calmly but firmly “stated that they had not done anything unlawful and had no relation whatsoever to any auto burglaries,” their civil complaint alleged. Deputies handcuffed them while they searched their car, purse and cellphones. They were released without any citations or criminal charges.
A federal jury found that deputies and Alameda County violated the constitutional rights of Loggervale and her daughters, Aaottae Loggervale and Aaasylei Hardge-Loggervale. Also, it violated state civil rights against police harassment.
According to the final order, Holland and Alameda County must pay $2.75 million to the mother and $2 million to each daughter, while one of the deputies and the county must pay $750,000 to each daughter.
“The community’s trust in my agency is foundational to my mission of maintaining a positive relationship with those we serve,” Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez said in a statement Thursday. “The facts of this case are extremely important to me and our community members, however, I must reserve my comments until the case has been fully adjudicated through the court system.”
Alameda County has until the end of the month to file an appeal. Peters said that defense lawyers have yet to give him any indication of whether they will continue the legal fight.
According to NBC, “the two deputies who detained Loggervale and her daughters are still employed by the department.”
Aaottae Loggervale and Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale will graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and UCLA, respectively, this spring.
“I really hope that this becomes an opportunity for everybody to sit down together and say: ‘OK, this is a problem. How do we solve this?'” Peters said.
“How can we empower our law enforcement officers to do their job in such a way that it is not adversely impacting communities of color?