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A department chaplain arrives to assist friends and family members waiting to hear of loved ones at an Alameda County Sheriff's office in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 after at least nine people died in an overnight fire

Alameda County Sheriff’s office in Oakland, California, in 2016. | Source: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Getty

Let’s talk about a little something I like to call “cop logic.”

Here’s the scenario: A cop randomly and arbitrarily confronts a group of Black people who are committing the egregious crime of minding their own business. The Black people, baffled by how doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary attracted police attention, behave as if they are distrustful of the officer so they question them about why they were stopped instead of immediately handing over their ID. The officer then tells the group of Black people that they’re behaving suspiciously by being suspicious of the officer who, before any interaction was had, already found said group of Black people to be suspicious for no discernable reason.

That’s the logical fallacy of a cop’s favorite statement: “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

Well, there are two California police officers who, right about now, are probably wishing they followed actual logic instead of cop logic, because if they had, they might not be on the hook for monetary damages to be paid to the Black family they stopped and detained outside of a Starbucks because they found the family members suspicious because they were *checks notes* sitting in their car.

But since these officers followed cop logic meant to justify blatant racial profiling, a Black mother and her two daughters were awarded more than $8 million by a California jury.

From CBS News:

The incident happened in September 2019 when Nevada mother Aasylei Loggervale was driving her two daughters to California for college. The trio stopped at a Starbucks in Castro Valley, California, to rest and were approached by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, according to court documents. Two deputies told the women they were searching for suspects in a recent rash of car thefts and asked for their identification, a lawsuit filed by the Loggervales against Alameda County alleged.

Loggervale refused to show her ID and was then “forcefully” detained and handcuffed, along with her daughters, after stepping out of her car, the suit alleged. Deputies held the women when the mother tried to walk toward the Starbucks to use the restroom, court documents state.

The Loggervales suffered abrasions on their arms and wrists from the incident, according to their suit. Attorneys for the Loggervales argued that the deputies involved in the incident — Steven Holland and Monica Pope, who are both White — stopped their clients because they are Black. The complaint accused the two of assault, battery, false arrest and violation of constitutional rights, among other charges.

Loggervale, who had been following regular logic, assumed Holland was simply warning them about the recent car thefts in the area, until it became clear that the cop was accusing them of possibly plotting to steal cars, because—and this is a direct quote from Holland—”I noticed you guys weren’t doing anything but hanging out.”

Mind you, according to Loggervale’s attorneys, a police report indicated that the suspected car thieves in the area were men. So, the officers pulled over three women who were sitting in their car in broad daylight in a public place right outside of the open establishment they were going to enter after resting in the car for a bit.

Nah, they must have been working on their car theft strategy. What else could it possibly be?

So, after some back and forth with Loggervale, Holland hit the group with a cop’s second favorite line after “I was in fear for my life.”

“Are you doing anything wrong?” He asked, to which Loggervale answered, “No, I’m not.”

“So then what’s the big deal?” Holland replied.

After Loggervale continued to explain that neither she nor her daughters had done anything wrong and that the cops were confronting them for no reason, Holland responded, “So, what you’re doing right now leads me to believe you might be doing something wrong.”

So, there you have it, folks. Cop logic says refusing to submit to racial profiling while Black makes a Black person suspicious of wrongdoing.

Anyway, more from CBS:

The jury last week unanimously ruled against Holland and Pope, calling their conduct “unlawful.” Holland and Alameda County together must pay $2.75 million to the mother and $2 million to each daughter, while Pope and the county must pay $750,000 to each daughter, the final order shows. 

“The community’s trust in my agency is foundational to my mission of maintaining a positive relationship with those we serve,” Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez told CBS MoneyWatch in a statement. “The facts of this case are extremely important to me and our community members, however, I must reserve my comments until the case has been fully adjudicated through the court system.”

Craig Peters, one of the Loggervales’ attorneys, said his clients received that amount partly because California’s Bane Act allows juries to triple the amount of damages if the case involves a violation of an individual’s constitutional rights. 

“I think they were just fishing, which kind of goes back to racial profiling,” Peters told CBS MoneyWatch of the deputies involved in the incident. “Cops have a lot of power. Sometimes that’s a good thing and, in some cases that we’ve seen all too often recently, it’s a bad thing.”

This is the perfect time to remind police across America that leaving law-abiding Black people alone is something they can do 100% free of charge.



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