California woman jailed for 13 days after being mistaken for person with the same name, lawsuit says

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A California woman sued the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department and airport police claiming she was arrested and held in jail for almost two weeks before authorities realized they arrested the wrong person, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Bethany Farber was preparing to fly out of Los Angeles International Airport to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, in April 2021 when she was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration and told there was a warrant for her arrest in Texas, the lawsuit says.

Farber reportedly told TSA agents that she had never visited Texas and that she was innocent. “I asked them repeatedly to double-check, and they completely blew me off,” Farber said. “They said ‘Nope, Bethany Farber, we have you.’”

Police arrested her at the airport and took her into booking at a Los Angeles Police Department station, the lawsuit says.

Authorities reportedly mistook Farber for a woman with the same name, who had a warrant for her arrest in Texas. The Bethany Farber police arrested is young, with long, blonde hair, opposed to other Farber, whose older with short and brown hair.

The lawsuit alleges the two “had nothing in common besides their name.”

Rodney Diggs, Farber’s attorney, said the Bethany Farber that police meant to arrest already has a criminal history.“Her fingerprints are in the database,” he said.

According to the federal lawsuit, police arrested the wrong Farber without checking her driver’s license, date of birth, or any other identifying information.

“LAPD could have checked the fingerprints, her birthday, social security number, or even a photo. They did none of that,” Diggs said.

Farber was held in jail for 13 days in Lynwood Women’s Jail in California before she was released. She said those days in jail caused her emotional distress, having to put warm food inside her sweatshirt to keep herself warm and witnessing other inmates throw feces and smear it across the wall.

Bethany Farber pictured with her grandmother, Donna Emma Jaynes. A federal lawsuit filed Feb. 22 alleges Jaynes died from a stress-induced stroke after Farber was wrongly jailed for 13 days in a case of mistaken identity.
Bethany Farber pictured with her grandmother, Donna Emma Jaynes. A federal lawsuit filed Feb. 22 alleges Jaynes died from a stress-induced stroke after Farber was wrongly jailed for 13 days in a case of mistaken identity.

The lawsuit also alleges the Los Angeles Police Department knew Farber was innocent for three days before she was released.

Documents say the incident caused Farber’s 90-year-old grandma to suffer a stress-induced stroke. She passed away shortly after Farber was released from jail.

“I believe I would have had more time with her if this situation didn’t happen,” she said.

The Los Angeles Police Department and LAX police said they are unable to comment on pending litigation. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office also declined to comment.

Last month, a Nevada man sued the Las Vegas Metropolitan and Henderson police departments alleging he was unlawfully detained after police mistook him for another man with a similar name.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California woman sues Los Angeles alleging she was wrongly imprisoned