When Shalandra Jones and a male driver were pulled over by a Michigan police officer during a routine traffic stop in August, the stop was conducted in a very professional and friendly matter.
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That is, until the cop found out Jones was HIV-positive. Officer David Lacey of the Dearborn Police Department in Michigan is accused of violating Jones’ privacy rights after getting irritated that she didn’t tell him her purse contained HIV medication, Fox 2 News reports.
In dash-cam footage posted on YouTube of the August traffic stop, officer Lacey can clearly be heard telling Jones that he was upset over the omission when he was searching her purse.
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“That’s probably something you needed to tell me when you got of the car,” Lacey says to Jones. “You ever get pulled out for any reason, you’d want to tell us because I want to make sure I put on gloves and all of that stuff.”
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Further inspecting the prescription bottles, he makes more inappropriate remarks. (He even asks if she was pregnant) As he is shown putting on leather gloves, he wonders what would have happened to him had he been stuck by any sharp objects in her purse that he initially searched during the traffic stop.
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Here is more from Fox 2 News:
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.
Jones, who has been living with HIV for 11 years, still seemed shaken by the incident. “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.”
Let us hope that media outrage from this horrible abuse of Jones’ rights puts the Dearborn Police Department on blast!