This Black Woman Spent 15 Days In Jail Because Police Mistook Her For A White Suspected Criminal
Jada Noone, 22, alleges the police department withheld video evidence that would later exonerate her over a year later.
A Black woman is suing the state of Pennsylvania for falsely arresting her. She claims authorities attempted to have her serve time for felony crimes believed to have been committed by a white woman.
The Appeal reports Jada Noone filed a federal civil rights petition alleging wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and unreasonable seizure after spending over two weeks in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. The suit also alleges the police department withheld video evidence that would later exonerate her from the felony drug trafficking charges over a year later.
The 22-year-old was arrested by Wilkes-Barre State Trooper Scott Hawley on May 30, 2017 and charged with two separate felonies. She was charged with a count of conspiring to commit drug trafficking and a count of drug possession, reports Citizens Voice.
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The charges stemmed from a drug bust in which the undercover traffic attendant Hawley bought over $300 in heroin the year prior. Hawley wrote in the affidavit for her arrest that it was Noone who sold him the drugs. However, the seller was described as “a white female with bright pink/red dyed hair."
The officer reportedly suspected Noone because she was associated with the drug dealer, her ex-boyfriend Akee Miller. The young woman's legal counsel says they believe the officer assumed that the girl working for Miller was Noone and did no further investigation.
However, Noone's attorney, Theron J. Solomon, says the evidence collected by the district attorney's office "did not constitute probable cause." Furthermore, the video of the interaction between the cop and the dealer makes it evident that the woman was not Noone. The white woman described to have crooked teeth, red hair and a large chest tattoo, are all identifiable characteristics that are not present on the previous defendant's body.
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State Deputy Attorney General Daniel Gallagher has previously demanded proof that Noone is a Black woman. Recently, he commented on the discrepancies pointed out in regards to the tape last December. Doubling down that his team "believed it was her” who committed the crime, he stated that he could not discern if the chest tattoo was temporary or if the young woman had oral surgery since the 2016 recording took place. He added that the video was not enough to prove she wasn't the one who made the drug deal.
“She looks absolutely nothing like me at all," said Noone. "They still knew this and they still tried to get me to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. I was scared that I was going to go to jail for this, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Noone, who had no prior convictions, received a $75,000 bond. In fact, her bond nearly seven times higher than that of surrounding counties for the same crime. Additionally, she spent 15 days behind bars.
“The worst part about all of this is that Trooper Hawley had the video for a full year before Jada was even arrested,” said Solomon.
On June 15, 2017, she was released after agreeing to receive a reduced bail for waiving her preliminary hearing and sending the case straight to trial.
A year later, on June 11, 2018, Judge David W. Lupas and Lazerne county prosecutors agreed to dismiss all charges against Noone.
Additionally, Solomon says the mystery white woman in the video recording was identified to the police but still has not been charged with the crime.
Noone is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
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