Woman sues LAPD after she was misidentified and spent two weeks in jail
A California woman who spent 13 days in jail last year is suing the Los Angeles Police Department for what she said was a wrongful arrest. According to the lawsuit, police mistook Bethany K. Farber, of Calabasas, for a woman with the same name who had an arrest warrant.
“This was an experience that no one should go through, especially a law abiding citizen,” Farber said Tuesday at a press conference.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, accuses the LAPD, the Los Angeles Airport Police, the City of Los Angeles and dozens of unnamed individuals of violating her civil rights, false arrest/imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. Farber is seeking monetary damages.
On April 16, 2021, Farber arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, planning to fly to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to visit family, Farber’s attorney Rodney Diggs said. While waiting at her gate, Farber was stopped and apprehended by TSA officers, who said there was a warrant for her arrest in Texas. The lawsuit said Farber was “in complete and utter shock.”
Farber, who works as a licensed aesthetician in California, was then escorted to a private room where she was handcuffed for more than two hours without any food or water, according to the lawsuit. Officers allegedly threatened to tighten Farber’s handcuffs after she asked them about what was going on.
During the interrogation, Farber allegedly told authorities that she’d never been to Texas and that she could be dealing with a possible identity theft.
Police then arrived and arrested Farber, without checking her driver’s license or confirming her identity in any other way, the lawsuit said. She was taken to booking, where the LAPD did take her photo and fingerprint. They allegedly never asked for her driver’s license, social security number, birth date or any other personal information that would have confirmed her identity.
Farber was held at Lynwood Women’s Jail for 13 days. The lawsuit accuses the LAPD of holding her for an additional three days after Texas courts allegedly alerted them that they had the wrong person.
“This is a case of negligence at its highest level and also a violation of Miss Farber’s rights,” her attorney said.
While in jail, Diggs claims his client was subject to “things that she could never have imagined.” The lawsuit said Farber was “stripped of her privacy,” “saw human feces thrown around and smeared across the walls” and had to put hot food underneath her clothing to keep herself warm.
Her experience resulted in “severe stress, anxiety, emotional injury, and mental anguish,” as well as humiliation, the lawsuit said.
While she was in jail, Farber’s grandmother had a stress-induced stroke, and she died just days after Farber was released. Attorneys allege that her death was a result of learning that Farber was in jail.
“I believe that I would have had more time with her if this situation didn’t happen,” she said.
According to Diggs, the woman who actually had an arrest warrant had a known criminal history — her fingerprints were already in police databases.
“They didn’t do the basics of their job to confirm the identity,” Diggs said.
When asked for comment by CBS News, the LAPD said it does not comment on pending litigation.