A Black Washington, D.C. college student who was wrongfully detained while waiting to use a local ATM has filed a lawsuit against the city.
Jason Goolsby was 18 years old last year when he was chased, tackled, and detained by D.C. police after a White woman called 9-1-1, claiming that she felt uncomfortable by Goolsby and his brother’s presence behind her at the ATM and suspected they might rob her. Goolsby, a local musician and student at Howard University, says he was caught off guard by the entire incident. During a 2015 press conference following the highly-publicized incident, the teen’s attorney said he was standing outside of the ATM door while deciding whether or not to withdraw money when a couple and their baby walked up. He says he instinctively opened the door for the couple before going inside himself and waiting to use the ATM after they completed their transaction.
Goolsby says he had no idea the woman felt uneasy, but did find it peculiar that she abruptly left the ATM without completing her transaction. It wasn’t until a group of officers suddenly rushed him in an SUV and hopped out with their guns and pepper spray drawn while he was making his way towards a nearby bus stop that he knew something had gone wrong. Fearing for his life, Goolsby ran and was later apprehended by police. After video of the incident went viral on social media, the woman who placed the 9-1-1 call admitted the teens “weren’t doing anything” at the bank and didn’t commit any crime in her presence, according to Black America Web.
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Despite seemingly sufficient evidence supporting otherwise, a police department investigation later concluded that the officers were justified in their handling of the situation.
Goolsby is suing Washington, D.C. on charges of failing to prevent false imprisonment, assault, and battery. He is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.