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Wrongly jailed woman seeks action against Atlanta cops






Atlanta (CNN) -- When Teresa Culpepper called Atlanta police to report her car stolen, the last thing she expected was to land behind bars for 53 days in a case of mistaken identity.

Mistaken for a woman of the same first name who was wanted on a battery charge, Culpepper is now trying to return her life to normal after the ordeal cost her home and her car. Her attorney said none of it would have happened if police had followed basic procedures.

"This is something that should not have ever happened. It is nuts," said attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

While police did not return calls to CNN about Culpepper, the district attorney has determined that she was the wrong person arrested.

Culpepper's saga started August 21, whe she called police to report that her car was stolen, Merchant said. An officer took information from her, but never filed a report. Shortly after, police dispatchers called out a bulletin, alerting officers to look out for a woman named Teresa Gilbert who was suspected of aggravated battery.

Police returned to Culpepper's house and arrested her. And the differences between the two women didn't stop at their last names, Merchant said.

"The birth dates didn't match. The addresses were different. The description didn't match. Other than the name Teresa, nothing matched," Merchant said. "All they had to do was show a picture of Teresa to the victim and none of this would have happened."

Even so, Culpepper was held in jail, handed a bond she couldn't cover and indicted. She remained in jail for days, thinking there was no way out of the predicament.

It wasn't until weeks later that the battery victim came forward in court and cleared Culpepper's name.

Still, released on October 12, Culpepper found herself homeless and her car in the impound lot.

"After investigating this matter thoroughly and discussing it carefully with the Atlanta Police Department, we have concluded that the wrong person was arrested," District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said in a written statement to CNN affiliate WSB. "The fact that both of the women in question had the same first name and lived in the same police beat led the officer to believe Ms. Culpepper was responsible ... Unfortunately, the officer never presented a picture or any form of identification to the victim."

Culpepper is seeking legal action against the Atlanta police, Merchant said.

"It is scary, really," Merchant said. "Because it is not like Teresa is an uncommon name. It makes you feel that it could have happened to anybody."




http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/22/justice/georgia-wrongly-jailed/index.html?hpt=ju_c2


Added: Oct-25-2011 Occurred On: Oct-24-2011
By: Zipper10
In:
Regional News
Tags: Wrongly, jailed, woman, seeks, action, against, Atlanta, cops
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States (load item map)
Views: 2936 | Comments: 26 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • They should have to pay her for everything she lost and a bunch more for being in jail. Police are dumb asses sometimes.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • More lazy, dumbass cops.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • Wow, nice one officer! And of course nothing will happen to you, we'll just pass this inevitable lawsuit off on the Atlanta taxpayers as usual.

    Keep up the good work.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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    • @timerider2009 Because rich people does not pay tax.

      Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • she black? Without being disrespectful or anything, its fucking hard to explain human characteristics to a cop when a black person did the crime.

    Remember when a black guy stole my bike out of my hands when i was 12 going in my house. Afterwards the cop asked me what he looked like "tall, short black hair, brown skin, brown eyes, slightly larger nose" and the cop just laughed at me.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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    • Comment of user 'Eva_Destruction' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @Eva_Destruction i was merely stating why there could have been a mix-up

      Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • Woah, she'll be rich, as she should be. This isn't Nazi-fucking Germany, you assholes.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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  • Another millionaire in the making. Thank you Atlanta taxpayers, because you are paying for it.

    Posted Oct-25-2011 By 

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    • Comment of user 'Eva_Destruction' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @Eva_Destruction You are referring to damage limit established by the law. But in US punitive damages is allowed and that is unlimited. The way it works is the plaintiff asked for a punitive damages, which she can ask for whatever amount, and it is always, I say again, ALWAYS, in the millions to leave room for negotiation and profit for the lawyers. The jury decide guilty or not guilty only. The Judges does not interfere with punitive awards usually once the jury decided guilty. Thats is the rea More..

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    • @Eva_Destruction My ass. Six figures, for almost two months in jail, losing her home etc.? You're an idiot. The payment just for her emotional distress, let alone her property loss is going to be much higher. Stay away from law-school.

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