Questions of false arrest and police brutality as well as malicious prosecution have arisen after a woman in Portage, Indiana.
DelRea Good was flagged by a police cruiser on an empty street late on the night of March 20th. Good felt unsafe pulling over for a cruiser on the dark, abandoned street.
Instead, she followed safety protocols often issued by police; Good turned on her hazard lights and slowed her speed so the cruiser could follow her into a well-lit Kohl’s parking lot less than a mile away.
This action resulted in her arrest and a pending felony charge that may forever bar her from her career as a nurse. Nurses cannot work after being convicted of a felony.
When the police officer approached Good’s car in the parking lot, he appeared already angry with Good, and demanded, “what in the hell are you doing? I could arrest you for this.”
That is exactly what happened. Despite the officer’s acknowledgement that he witnessed Good waving out of her car window and using safety lights to indicate her intention to pull over, she was handcuffed and taken to jail on felony charges of resisting arrest.
The officer at the scene said that Good made comments several times about protecting her safety as a single female. Good says that she was bruised by rough handling as she was put into the police car and bullied by the officers at the jail.
The arresting officer allegedly pulled items out of her purse such as Advil and said she was carrying controlled substances in an effort to intimidate her.
Good’s attorney, Bob Harper, has cited cases where women have been pulled over by civilians impersonating police officers and subsequently assaulted, including the 1991 incident in nearby Valparaiso.
Police in Portage as recently as 2013 released warnings to the public about someone impersonating an officer using flashing lights on top of a car. A woman avoided likely assault by not stopping for this person, which prompted an official statement from the Portage police department saying she did the right thing.
The exact advice given by Sgt. Keith Hughes at the time of this earlier incident was that drivers call 911 to check on the validity of the possible officer. If that option is unavailable, he advised to wave at the officer out the window and drive to a well-lit public location, at which time the driver should explain his or her concern to the officer.
Despite these clear instructions, the current Porter County Sherriff’s spokesman has said that “the sheriff’s office supports the officer’s decision in this matter.” Good, who has no prior criminal record, is currently awaiting a judge’s decision on her case.