A Black trans woman in Atlanta was just awarded $1.5 million after she spent six months in jail on trumped-up cocaine charges, and her story reminds us of two things: The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t complete unless it involves all Black lives, and cops lie just like anyone else, only their lies tend to have bigger consequences.
According to WSB-TV 2, in October 2015, Ju’Zema Goldring was walking with a group of friends when two Atlanta police officers stopped the group and arrested Goldring for jaywalking, which she said she didn’t do.
Now, already, this is a story about racist cops profiling Black people and then fishing for reasons to put them in handcuffs. Besides the fact that Goldring said she wasn’t guilty of it, who sees jaywalking as an immediately arrestable offense? Can it be dangerous? Sure. But, at best, it’s worth a citation, not putting someone behind bars.
But, obviously, when it comes to a Black trans person a bigoted cop is looking to arrest, anything goes. And if cops can’t simply arrest a negro for something as ridiculous for crossing the street incorrectly, they better find a plausible reason—even if they have to make one up.
“During the arrest, an officer searched Goldring’s purse and found a stress ball. He cut it open and tested it for cocaine,” WSB-TV reported. “Defense attorneys said that despite the fact that the test was negative, the officer charged Goldring with trafficking cocaine.”
This has to be among the laziest frame-ups ever committed by cops. Really? Passing off the insides of a stress ball as cocaine is what they’re resorting to now?
Of course, it’s easy to call this a pathetic and easily disprovable method of creating a crime where there is none, but let’s not forget it kept Goldring locked up for six months.
Goldring’s attorneys, who also said one of the officers used an anti-trans slur during the arrest, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city in 2019, resulting in a jury ruling that Atlanta Police have to pay Goldring $1.5 million.
“This case signifies a small but significant victory on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized people here in Atlanta, who have been suffering through discriminatory and callous policing by individuals who swear to protect and serve their communities, but who under the cover of darkness, are indifferent to the consequences of their discriminatory practices on the most vulnerable amongst us,” attorney Miguel A. Dominguez said in a statement.
It’s unclear what discipline if any, the cops will face, but what they did should actually be considered an arrestable offense.