Bethany Farber Santa Barbara California woman sues LAPD in mistaken identity arrest which led to her erroneously spending 13 days in jail. How did the LAPD get it so wrong?
How could the LAPD get it so wrong? A Los Angeles woman is suing the the LAPD, and other city agencies after saying she was erroneously locked up for 13 days in a case of mistaken identity after cops confused her for another suspect they sought to arrest.
Bethany Farber, of Calabasas, Santa Barbara, California was about to board a Delta flight to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to visit family when she was detained by TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport in April last year.
Officers said they had a warrant for Farber’s arrest in Texas and escorted her to a private room where she was handcuffed to a chair.
The aesthetician while coincidentally having the same name as the wanted suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant, was taken into custody, despite police failing to check Farber’s driver’s license or confirm her identity. She remained held at Lynwood Women’s Jail for 13 days, the filed lawsuit claims.
In her suit, Farber said police said the were looking for a woman with dark hair, despite Farber having blonde hair CBS Los Angeles reported.
‘It could happen to anybody…’
Asked to respond to the allegations against the force, the LAPD stated that it does not comment on pending litigation.
It continued to remain unclear why police were looking for the original Farber and what crimes the suspect had allegedly committed.
Along with suing the LAPD, Farber is also suing the Los Angeles Airport Police and the City of Los Angeles in her wrongful arrest suit.
Farber told KTLA: ‘It was absolutely terrifying. I was shocked. It just kept getting worse.
‘They arrested me for a state-wide fugitive warrant. I kept saying that they had the wrong person and to double check, and they just said, “no we have it”.’
Farber insisted officers they had the wrong person, only for officers to nevertheless haul her to Lynwood Women’s Jail.
She continued: ‘Immediately, all I could think is, I’ve never been to Texas…I started to get upset, realizing that it was all actually happening.’
Why was there no due diligence process followed through?
Farber spent 13 days in jail as her family and friends worked to prove the police had the wrong woman.
A hired attorney was able to prove Farber’s innocence after supplying cell phone GPS indicating that Farber was in California on the day the other woman committed crimes in Texas.
Traumatized and scarred from her jail cell stint, Farber claims it ‘could happen to anyone.’
During her impromptu incarceration, Farber describes witnessing heinous acts, including human feces being thrown around along with being forced to put hot food underneath her clothes just to keep warm while in jail, CBS News reported.
‘She had to spend her nights in a cold jail cell, listening to voices of other inmates screaming, crying, she saw fights within her cell, she saw fights in the common areas of the jail,’ her attorney Rodney Diggs said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Diggs also told Fox 11: ‘They could have checked the birth dates, checked fingerprints, checked Social Security number. Farber had her passport on her at the time.’
Adding: ‘That says that the system is flawed somewhere. The fact that there’s no procedures, no protocol.’
But there was more to come…
Upon her release, the aesthetician’s mother told Farber that her grandmother had suffered a stress-induced stroke. She died just days after Farber jail release; with Farber able to visit her before her passing.
‘I can’t explain to you the feeling of that entire situation, and then being released and having [my mom] inform me in the morning that my grandmother was in the hospital,’ she told Fox 10. ‘I believe that I would have had more time with her if this situation didn’t happen.’
Farber’s attorney also said the LAPD was told by the state of Texas that the wrong Farber was in custody three days before her release.
‘[It was] three days she could have spent with her grandmother,’ he said.
Farber was released on April 28, 2021, according to KTLA. Farber is now suing for $2.5million for emotional distress.
‘This has caused me a lot of distress in my life, a lot of anxiety. It has set me back financially. It’s impacted my business,’ she said at a press conference on Tuesday. ‘There’s a lot of people out there who this is happening to who don’t have anyone advocating for them. They don’t have their family fighting for them every day, and every day that they’re in jail, wrongfully, their lives are being dismantled.’