A California mother and her two daughters who were wrongfully detained outside of a Starbucks more than three years ago finally got some justice.
A federal jury awarded $8.25 million to the family after they were unlawfully searched and detained by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies in Castro Valley, California.
The mother was taking one of her daughters to take a college math test in Berkeley, which is about 45 minutes away from the Starbucks where the incident took place. They drove all the way from Nevada as a family because her oldest daughter was transferring from a community college to UCLA. The women were not physically harmed and did cooperate with the officers.
The jury deliberated for 16 hours before reaching a verdict on the two-day trial that concluded on March 1. According to court documents obtained by Fox KTVU News, the dollar amount awarded to the family was because jurors felt their constitutional rights were stripped due to the color of their skin.
“I think that everybody recognizes we all have implicit bias,” their attorney, Craig Peters of San Francisco, said in an interview on Monday. “I have it. You have it. We’ve all got it. These officers are no different. And so, subconsciously, there was something going on that made them unreasonably suspicious of this family. I think that if this same scenario happened and these were white women, it would have played out very differently.”
The jury found Deputy Steven Holland liable for his role during the incident. In 2019, the family was sitting in the parking lot in a rental vehicle while waiting to go into a Starbucks. Holland approached them and asked, “What are you doing here?”
The mother, Aasylei Loggervale, responded, “we are waiting to go inside the Starbucks.”
Officer Holland then said that the area had been experiencing a lot of car break-ins and that is why he questioned them. The car break-ins that Holland was referring to were committed by a Black and Latino male, according to police reports.
Then he proceeded to ask Asaylei to present identification. The mother refused, and things escalated with Holland opening their car door to try to forcefully remove them.
The women repeatedly asked, “what are we being detained for?”
The family cooperated and got out of their vehicle themselves. They sat in the back of a police cruiser for more than an hour while Holland and another deputy searched their vehicle.
Aaotte Loggervale was 17 years old, and Aasyeli Hardege-Loggervale was 19 years old when the incident occurred. The two were heard crying in the police bodycam video as they sat in the back of the police car.
The deputies claimed that one of the daughters committed “battery” when she struck Holland as she opened the car door. Bodycam footage shown in court refuted that claim. It showed that Holland pushed the car when she tried to open it to exit the vehicle.
The mother received $2.7 million, and the two daughters received $2 million apiece. The jury found then Deputy Monica Pope, who was also at the scene, liable for $750,000 that was awarded to both daughters.
The Alameda County police department has paid out the most money in wrongful deaths and excessive force in the Bay Area. They recently paid out $5 million to the family of a 20-year-old male that hanged himself after being wrongfully chained to a jailhouse door in 2020.
This is now the largest payout in Alameda County’s history.
Both Holland and Pope are now sergeants.
Aasyeli, the daughter that had to take the test, is set to graduate from UCLA this spring. The Loggervales declined to speak with the media after being awarded.
According to the Loggervale family attorney, an internal affairs investigation completed by the department found that the officers did nothing wrong.