• Ju’Zema Goldring was arrested in 2015 and falsely charged with trafficking cocaine
  • The woman says she was detained in prison with men where she was also assaulted
  • A federal jury ruled in her favor and ordered Atlanta PD to pay Goldring $1.5 million

A Black transgender woman from Atlanta who spent six months in prison after being arrested on false drug charges was awarded $1.5 million by a federal grand jury, almost seven years after the incident.

Ju’Zema Goldring was arrested on Oct. 11, 2015, while she was walking with her friends in downtown Atlanta on charges of jaywalking that Goldring denied. During the arrest, two officers from Atlanta Police Department, Vladimir Henry and Juan Restrepo searched Goldring's purse and found a "stress ball" that was cut open and tested for cocaine.

Despite the test results turning negative, Goldring was also charged with trafficking cocaine, according to her attorneys, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

During the arrest, one of the officers used an anti-trans slur, Goldring's attorney said. She was booked in the Fulton County jail where she remained until March 22, 2016, according to court records. Goldring said she was detained in prison with men where she was assaulted, according to reports.

The charges against Goldring were dismissed and she was released six months later after an independent test conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation failed to detect cocaine. Three years after being wrongfully imprisoned, Goldring filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Atlanta.

The jury recently ruled in the woman's favor and ordered Atlanta PD to pay Goldring $1.5 million. According to the Mayor's office, the case was against an individual officer and the city was not ordered to pay anything.

"Everyone on the jury saw that the test was negative. It should not have taken seven years and a federal jury trial to bring this to light. It’s terrifying to think what other abuses the City of Atlanta has tolerated that haven’t gotten our attention. Our client was obviously profiled, as are so many others," Goldring's attorney Jeff Filipovits said in the statement.

Meanwhile, officials from the City of Atlanta refused to comment on the verdict. "As this is an ongoing legal matter, the City of Atlanta is reviewing the order and the officer’s options," a city spokesperson said.

Both Henry and Restrepo are still employed with the Atlanta Police Department, according to records.

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