If you have been listening to the St. Petersburg news, you have very likely heard the recent story of a woman arrested by mistake by police in a case of mistaken identity. The woman has filed a formal claim against the St. Petersburg police officers who pulled her out of her apartment recently. They arrested her for a crime, despite her cries of innocence.
The woman spent hours at the local police station in the custody of police before the department realized that this wasn’t the woman that they were seeking. They had arrested the wrong person. To make matters worse, the woman who they did arrest was battling cancer and had just returned to her Saint Petersburg home after cancer treatment at the local hospital. In her report, she states that she was still wearing the hospital bracelet with her name and information on it at the time of the arrest. Nevertheless, the police ignored her statements and hauled her to the station.
Statements by the police department do include agreements that they had arrested the wrong person. They would not comment on the case which caused the mistaken identity nor would they say who they had intended to arrest in the first place. They did, however, comment that this wrongfully accused person was very resistant when they proceeded with the arrest. Though you must ask yourself, would you not resist as well if the police barged into your home and accused you of a crime you hadn’t committed?
In this country, wrongful arrest is a form of intentional tort. That is to say that the police officers intentionally caused harm to this individual by arresting her without confirming her identity. It is possible that this woman will seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney within the city and file a claim seeking damages for her losses and her humiliation.
The story is now being covered in large scale by the media, which means that her name and her face are being displayed for the masses to see. It is without doubt an embarrassing situation and one that should not have happened. The victim claims that the police came into her home without warning and without a warrant. She further states that they did not even ask her name before putting her in cuffs.
This isn’t the first time police have made such a mistake. We’ve all heard the stories of wrongfully accused individuals winding up in jail for many years before being released when new evidence is produced. In 2010, a young woman who was preparing to pick up her daughter from school had three police cars speed into her driveway producing a warrant for her arrest. The crime was robbery, but it was, of course, the crime of someone else. The woman was simply flabbergasted to be hauled off to jail where she spent five days and five nights before her husband was able to raise enough money for her bail. Throughout that time, she was protesting to the jailers telling them over and over again that this was a mistake. The guilty party had a name very close to the victim and police simply selected the wrong individual when seeking an address. They arrested the wrong person and put her through several days of embarrassment and shame and discomfort. She did file a case against the police department.
You have rights as a citizen. The police can’t arrest you without proper cause. If you feel you were wrongfully arrested, you have the right to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney.