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(Video Credit: KTLA 5)
Bethany K. Farber experienced a horrific case of mistaken identity that landed her behind bars for 13 days after the Los Angeles Police Department misidentified her as a suspect with the same name from Texas and now she’s suing the city of Los Angeles, the LAPD, and the LAX police over it.
The 30-year-old aesthetician is filing a federal lawsuit after she was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as she waited to board a flight to Puerto Escondido, Mexico last April, according to the New York Post.
Transportation Security Administration agents initially detained her and then she was escorted to a private room. Farber asked why and they allegedly informed her that she had a warrant out for her arrest in Texas.
She told authorities that she had never been to Texas and there was no way she was wanted for committing any crimes there or anywhere else. Her claims were ignored by both the LAPD and the LAX police who “proceeded to arrest her” in front of airport staff. They reportedly didn’t bother to confirm her identity or check her driver’s license which showed they had the wrong person, according to the filing.
Imagine arriving at #LAX heading over to TSA only to be interrogated for having an outstanding arrest warrant. #LAPD arrests you & you’re jailed for 2 weeks without bail – it’s a mistaken identity. You are Bethany Farber but not that Bethany Farber#TrueStory #WrongfullyAccused pic.twitter.com/8rT219nEC2
— Shawna Charles (@drsmcphd) February 19, 2022
“LAPD then held [Farber] in jail for the next 13 days until April 26, 2021,” the lawsuit charges.
Farber has the same name as the suspect that is being sought in Texas. However, they look nothing alike. A cursory comparison of the warrant and Farber’s driver’s license would have potentially prevented the whole mishap. Simply looking at the photographs of the two women and their matching fingerprints would have also done the trick.
“Plaintiff is a young woman with long, blonde hair, while the other woman is older with short brown hair,” the filing asserts. “Furthermore, the warrant was for a woman in the State of Texas and Plaintiff has never been to the State of Texas.”
The lawsuit was announced by Farber at a news conference in front of LAPD headquarters Tuesday. She was released from jail after attorneys showed cellphone data indicating she was in California on the day authorities alleged the Texas crime occurred, according to KTTV.
(Video Credit: NewsNation Now)
“It could happen to anyone,” Farber remarked on Tuesday.
Rodney Biggs, who is Farber’s counsel, believes she was viewed as a flight risk because she was traveling to Mexico. But he’s adamant that authorities could’ve cleared her with just a few simple checks.
“The fact no one checked her middle name, her birth date,” Biggs stated. “No information representing her person … they didn’t even check basic information that Bethany was not the other Bethany Farber.”
The lawsuit goes into what Farber suffered while behind bars and, to put it mildly, it was not anywhere close to the vacation in Mexico she must have envisioned.
It alleges that Farber suffered “severe stress, anxiety, emotional injury, and mental anguish” due to her unjust arrest. Her 91-year-old grandmother also had a “stress-induced stroke” when she found out her granddaughter was in jail and died shortly after Farber was released, the lawsuit charges.
Even after the Texas courts informed Los Angeles authorities that they had the wrong woman, they held her for three more days, according to the New York Post.
“You know this is why we have our [constitutional] amendments in place to protect us,” Farber said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be fearing law enforcement.”
“This was an experience that no one should go through, especially a law-abiding citizen,” she commented.
“This is causing me a lot of distress in my life, a lot of anxiety, it has set me back financially, it impacted my business, and there’s a lot of people out there who this is happening to that don’t have anyone advocating for them,” Farber continued. “Every day that they’re in jail, wrongfully, their lives are being dismantled, being away from their jobs and family.”
The lawsuit seeks $2.5 million for violations of her civil rights, emotional distress, and negligence, as well as for compensation for every day Farber was incarcerated. The City of Los Angeles, LAPD, and the LAX police are all listed as defendants in the suit.
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