Woman says she was falsely arrested for drug trafficking because she is transgender

ATLANTA — A woman said police targeted her because she is transgender. Now, taxpayers will have to pay her $1.5 million after an Atlanta police officer accused her of trafficking cocaine.

An officer said a substance in her purse tested positive for cocaine, but it wasn’t actually cocaine.

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Atlanta police arrested Ju’zema Goldring at Third Street and Piedmont Avenue in midtown in October 2015 because they said she was jaywalking. Police said she was carrying a stress ball full of cocaine and told internal affairs it tested positive for the drug.

Police arrested Goldring for drug trafficking, even though the substance wasn’t cocaine at all. Goldring said when Officer Yladimir Henry and Officer Juan Restrepo learned she was transgender, they harassed her.

They arrested her for drug trafficking even though it wasn’t cocaine at all.

“It was clear these officers were lying. The best they were able to come with at trial is maybe they needed more training,” attorney Miguel Dominguez said.

Atlanta police told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes the officers didn’t lie and that the tests can produce false positives. The officers were cleared.

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Goldring spent nearly six months in jail in what she calls deplorable conditions, locked down for 23 hours a day. That’s why a judge ultimately awarded her $1.5 million in a lawsuit against the city.

“The closest they came to admitting anyone made any mistake whatsoever was the last sentence of the closing argument where they threw up their hands and said, ‘Maybe a mistake was made,’” attorney Zach Greenamyre said.

The judge said Henry was liable for the malicious prosecution of the transgender woman and that’s why he awarded her $1.5 million.

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Atlanta police said she wasn’t targeted for being transgender. Atlanta police promoted Henry to detective, saying his career was allowed to move on during the lawsuit. They also made it clear that the lawsuit was against the city, not the Atlanta Police Department.

APD said they no longer use that drug test.

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