Dearborn police officer accused of HIV discrimination - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Dearborn police officer accused of HIV discrimination

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Source: YouTube Source: YouTube
DEARBORN, Mich. (MyFox Detroit) -

A Dearborn police officer is accused of ticketing a woman because he was "pissed" that she failed to tell him she was HIV-positive during a traffic stop.

Shalandra Jones and her attorneys say this is a clear violation of her right to privacy and respect.

"It took me a long time to be able to come outside," said Jones. "It took a long for me to stand up for myself."

After living with HIV for 11 years, Jones has finally learned how to do that. But what happened during an August traffic stop has been a serious blow. "It felt like I had been stripped of something that had been hard to get and that was my self-esteem."

Dash-cam footage posted on YouTube shows Dearborn Officer David Lacey stopping an SUV because the brake lights were out. But when he gets closer, he can says he can smell marijuana on the driver. Jones was in the passenger seat. Lacey asks both people to step out of the car and doesn't seem upset until he asks Jones what's in her purse. "What is that?" Lacey asks in reference to HIV medications. That's when his attitude shifts.

"That's probably something you needed to tell me when you got of the car," Lacey says to Jones. He then wonders what would have happened if he had gotten stuck with anything sharp inside the purse. "I had nothing in my purse that would harm him or myself," said Jones.

According to the dash-cam video, Lacey didn't find any sharp objects. "I deal with plenty of crackheads and heroine addicts. Usually they all tell me when they got a needle on them," said Lacey. "They'll tell you right away what they got so that way we don't get pissed."

But the law does not require anyone to disclose their HIV status during a traffic stop. "Even though I'm still pissed about the HIV thing, I'm still cutting you guys a break. I'm not taking anyone to jail," said Lacey.

But he did give Jones a ticket, something Lacey says he wouldn't have done if she had told him she was HIV-positive. "If it wasn't for that, I don't think I would have wrote anybody for anything," says Lacey.

The video has since gone viral and some people claim it's discrimination. Jones says incidents like this have to stop. "If you don't understand it then that's when ignorance comes in."

The Dearborn Police Department did not issue a comment about the incident. All they would say is that there is an ongoing investigation. Officer Lacey has not been placed on any kind of restrictive duty.

Jones and her attorneys would like to see the ticket dismissed.

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