For more than a year, Emancipate NC’s Ian Mance has been working on a case involving yet another excessive use of force by police, this time in Salisbury, NC. Stephanie Bottom, a 67-year-old Black woman who works as a public librarian, was driving from her home in Georgia to a family funeral when she was pulled over by Salisbury police for allegedly speeding 10 mph over the speed limit. In the encounter that followed, she was pulled forcefully out of her car by her hair, despite displaying no resistance or presenting any threat, and seriously injured by a group of officers.

The resultant lawsuit we filed on behalf of Ms. Bottom alleges that she was stopped as a result of racial profiling, subjected to excessive force, and illegally searched. The lawsuit seeks damages for the mental and physical harm inflicted upon her by the arresting officers, including a torn rotator cuff from an aggressive handcuffing that required surgery. In addition to Ian, Ms. Bottom is also represented by attorney C. Scott Holmes of N.C. Central School of Law’s Civil Litigation Clinic.

In our response to Salisbury PD’s attempt to dismiss the suit and defend its officers’ conduct, the memorandum explains why the officers are not entitled to qualified immunity for their actions, and that clearly-established law prohibited officers from conducting a racially-motivated traffic stop, from using the force they used, and from searching Ms. Bottom’s vehicle and purse under the circumstances. Ms. Bottom and Ian appeared last year on CBS This Morning to discuss the case in a segment that included video footage of the encounter, which can be viewed here

Read the full filing here →