Race & Identity
Georgia City Hit With Lawsuit After 70 People Were Arrested At A Party Over Less Than An Ounce Of Weed
The group claims they were locked in cages and publicly humiliated throughout the ordeal.
Several members of the group known as the "Cartersville 70" are suing officials in Cartersville, Georgia, for violating their rights and for subjecting them to inhumane treatment and unwarranted consequences.
As Blavity reported, the Cartersville 70 is a group of 70 people arrested at a house party after officers found less than an ounce of weed in the home during an unwarranted search. More than 50 of the 70 people officers arrested that night are Black; all of them are young. The oldest was 31 years old at the time, and the youngest was just 15.
Police claimed to have found two unregistered guns, marijuana and cocaine at the residence. That was later revealed to be false.
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According to The Appeal, all charges faced by the Cartersville 70 were thrown out, but not before their photos were broadcast on television and online; many of them claim they were fired from their jobs, and at least one student believes he lost a chance at an athletic scholarship over the debacle.
Fox 5 Atlanta reports seven of the 70 have filed a suit against 32 individuals and city departments including several police officers of the Cartersville Police Department, the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
The group alleges they were all held in cages — not cells — that were labeled "The Party Crew." Some of those arrested were held for three days. Others claim to have been strip searched in the presence of several officers, and some allege they were denied proper medical attention. The suit cites two incidents in particular: one person claims to have been denied their seizure medication, and a pregnant woman who was vomiting incessantly while in custody says she was denied access to prenatal pills.
“Those who complained about their treatment were either threatened with Tasers or taken to small isolation cells with padded walls and concrete floors, and no bed or place to sit,” the suit reads. Those placed in the isolation cells say they were held for five to seven hours on end.
The plaintiffs allege they faced negative repercussions even after being absolved of guilt.
Nija Guider says she was fired over the arrest, and the suit notes she was forced to go to a homeless pantry for food for her daughter and herself as she had trouble finding new employment. A high school senior known as a talented basketball player says he was kicked off of his team after the arrest, ruining his chances of attending college on an athletic scholarship.
The Cartersville Police Department has not released a statement responding to the suit.
Attorneys for the members of the Cartersville 70 who brought the suit hope to recover financial damages for the victims and plan to use the case to spotlight the unlawful and unwarranted searches that occur nationwide which are disproportionately carried out against people of color.
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