APD says bad drug tests to blame for transgender woman’s wrongful drug arrest

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department is defending their officers after a court ordered the city to pay $1.5 million to a transgender woman who was wrongfully arrested and spent six months in jail.

The officers who arrested Ju’Zema Goldring were never punished.

Now Atlanta police are talking about the case. They said the police officers didn’t lie but used a testing kit that gave them the wrong result.

The attorneys for the victim don’t believe that.

Regardless, Atlanta police told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes they don’t use that type of testing for drugs anymore.

Police also deny that the officers were motivated by a productivity scale, which many people call a point or quota system.

“This department no longer uses that drug test,” Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said.

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The two Atlanta police officers blamed a drug testing kit APD used in 2015 for their mistake in charging Goldring with drug trafficking.

She had to sit in jail for nearly six months for nothing. That’s why she won a civil case against the city of Atlanta for $1.5 million.

Her attorneys believe the officers lied about ever getting a positive test from the powdery substance in a stress ball they took out of her purse — all because of a police point system APD calls a productivity scale.

APD internal affairs cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

“It leads to some perverse incentives where officers who are policing in a callous manner and who are indifferent to the suffering of others, can potentially be motivated by that point system,” Goldring’s attorney, Miguel Dominguez, told Fernandes.

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“We want to address the fact that our ability to assess our service delivery to the community is in no way tied to any enforcement efforts that may have been done in 2015, when this case occurred,” Schierbaum said.

Goldring said she sat in deplorable conditions in the Fulton County Jail for several months because of the two officers, and she said they shouldn’t be employed by APD.

“If internal affairs had really been intentional about determining what the truth was, they would’ve fired these officers,” Dominguez said.

Both officers still work for APD. One has even been promoted to detective in the special victims’ unit.

APD administrators stand by what they’ve said all along — the officers did nothing wrong.

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