Former Raleigh County BOE Pres. wins case in federal court over unlawful arrest
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) -It was a victory in federal court on Thursday for a former Raleigh County Board of Education President challenging two Beckley Police officers over her 2020 arrest.
In her suit against the officers, Cindy Jafary argued she was unlawfully arrested for the misdemeanor charge of Obstruction in February of 2020, after responding to a medical emergency involving her brother-in-law. In court, she testified that she was unaware of the details involving an active domestic dispute unfolding in the home at the time.
While the two officers claimed she harassed them during the call, refused to leave, and obstructed their efforts, Jafary’s attorneys maintained throughout the trial that she had simply asked them not to use profanity and left the home when asked. The officer described the call as chaotic with multiple family members arriving at the home. He said he only used the language in an effort to gain control of the situation.
Jafary’s Obstruction charge was dropped in circuit court and expunged from her record prior to her filing a civil suit in federal court.
The jury found that Jafary had not been guilty of Obstruction and had in fact been the victim of a Malicious Prosecution. The jury also found that her free speech rights had been violated.
As for the message that resonated with jurors, one of her attorneys Mike Hissam said “I think it was that you have to play by the rules. Ms. Jafary comes from a law enforcement background and knows that you have to play by the rules in this country. Police officers don’t need to cuss people. All she was doing was asking them not to cuss at her and they arrested her for that.”
Jafary was awarded more than $8,000 in damages, but that number could be much higher once attorneys’ fees are assessed.
Jafary was also represented by attorneys Zak Ritchie and Max Gottlieb.
Copyright 2023 WVVA. All rights reserved.