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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MICHIGAN: Woman with HIV Alleges Police Bias in Suit Against Dearborn
Staff Writer
January 31, 2014
Detroit News (01.30.2014) Aids Weekly Plus

The Detroit News reported that an HIV-positive woman filed suit against the city of Dearborn, Mich., alleging that a police officer had violated her right to privacy and her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit sought damages and a permanent injunction that would require Dearborn to “develop and adopt policies for hiring, supervising, and training its police officers.” The August 3, 2012, incident occurred when an officer stopped the woman because her vehicle—driven by a companion—had a broken tail light. Upon discovering the driver had no license, the officer began searching the vehicle and the woman’s possessions. Finding HIV medications in the woman’s purse, the officer “berated and humiliated” her for not revealing her HIV status before he began the search. Police dashboard video obtained by the American Independent news agency and posted on YouTube confirmed that the officer “repeatedly mentioned his fear of being exposed to HIV” and told the woman he was ticketing her for marijuana possession because he was “aggravated” she had not revealed she was HIV-positive. Dearborn dismissed the misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession in September. Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad told the Detroit News he would institute training to improve interaction between the department and HIV-positive people. Joshua Moore, the woman’s attorney and president of Detroit Legal Services, referred Haddad to a local group that was willing to coordinate the training, but Moore stated that training had not occurred. Moore advised that his client filed the suit because the police department was not “serious” about correcting discrimination against HIV-positive people.

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