Lawsuit alleges Laurel officers violated citizen’s rights in unlawful arrest, bodycam released

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A Laurel woman is suing several police officers and the City of Laurel for alleged violations of her constitutional rights.

The lawsuit stems from a traffic stop on Feb. 2, 2023, which ended with the arrest of plaintiff Jhaqulia Stevens for failure to comply with an officer and resisting arrest. Judge Kyle Robertson later found Stevens not guilty of those charges in May 2023, according to the complaint.

Attorney Matthew Lawrence filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court on Tuesday on behalf of Stevens

The suit names Laurel Police Department Chief Tommy Cox, along with LPD Officers Patrick Dickerson, Tammy Myers, Devin Craven and Amanda Gould as defendants, along with the City of Laurel and other unnamed officers that may arise in discovery.

According to the suit, Stevens was driving on Feb. 2, 2023, when she thought she saw her brother’s car stopped at a traffic stop. She said she pulled over nearby to see if it was him.

The suit alleges that Dickerson approached Stevens and instructed her to “get on down the road” and she immediately drove away.

The lawsuit reads: “Officer Dickerson became angry, jumped in his squad car, and peeled out to chase the vehicle of Jhaqulia. Officer Dickerson did this even though he had just told her to go down the road, and she complied with that request immediately without saying anything even remotely disrespectful or inflammatory to Officer Dickerson.”

After noticing the officer pursue her, Stevens immediately pulled into a parking lot that was no more than 500 feet away from the spot where her brother had been pulled over, according to the lawsuit.

The suit says Dickerson then allegedly accused her of trying to interfere with her brother’s traffic stop.

Stevens maintains that she complied with all officer instructions and commands while remaining respectful. However, the lawsuit says that Dickerson became increasingly frustrated and hostile.

“Officer Dickerson has a history of getting angry at citizens for talking or expressing their First Amendment Rights when they assert that he is wrong about something,” reads Part C Section 16. “Officer Dickerson is frequently wrong about things.”

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