TICKER: Police officer penalises woman for being HIV positive

Dearborn Police Officer, David Lacey, is being accused of violating a woman’s privacy rights after finding prescription pills for HIV treatment in the woman’s purse. The officer ticketed her for not volunteering to inform him of her HIV-positive status. Shalandra Jones has been living with HIV for 11 years, but the incident that occurred  with Officer Lacey (in August) has left her traumatized. In a tearful interview with a local news station, Jones says, “It took me a long time to be able to come outside. It took a long for me to stand up for myself.”

The alleged violation was captured on the officer’s dash-camera. The footage has since been posted onto YouTube. The officer’s demeanor turns sour when he discovers the HIV medication in Jones’ purse. “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.” The officer continued to make insensitive remarks as he further inspected the prescription pills. At one point he asks Jones if she is pregnant and goes on to say he wonders what would’ve happened had he been punctured by any sharp objects in her purse.

Officer Lacey tells Jones and her male companion that he is doing them a favor by not taking them jail. “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,” he said. As he issues Jones a ticket, he tells her “If it wasn’t for that [Jones’ failure to notify him of her HIV-status], I don’t think I would have wrote anybody for anything.”

The law does not require individuals to disclose their HIV-positive status during a routine traffic stop. Officer Lacey has not been reprimanded, and the Dearborn Police Department has not issued any statements regarding the incident. Jones and her attorney are seeking dismissal of the ticket.

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