Navy wife wrongfully arrested, jailed in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A military wife, mom, business owner and medical professional is working to clear her name after she was wrongfully arrested in Virginia Beach.

Jaqueline A. Smith, 33, is in the process of moving her family to another military base with her husband, who is a Navy sailor, and two young children.

“Everyone cleared their schedules to make time to come that weekend and instead [of us moving], they were fighting for my freedom,” she said.

On Friday, Feb. 16, a traffic stop on JEB Little Creek-Fort Story led to Smith’s arrest — with her newborn baby boy in the car.

Smith told that on-base police “manhandled” her. The aggressive arrest caused her to start bleeding near her postpartum incisions.

“I just can’t even imagine how [it] went from a traffic stop to this,” Smith said. “All I kept saying out loud was, ‘Is this how you treat a service member’s wife? Is this how you’re treating a new mother?'”

Smith was arrested by Virginia Beach police officer K. Brewer and brought to Virginia Beach Correctional Center. The medical professional’s maiden name is Jacqueline Alcita Smith, yet she was booked under the wrong name, Jaqueline Renee Smith.

“The whole ordeal was literally a nightmare. Every wrong turn that could have been taken, was taken,” she said. “Three different agencies failed me. The Navy Police, the Virginia Beach Police Department and the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office. Each one had an opportunity to operate in good faith, identify me and use the systems they had in place. Instead, they were picking and choosing when to use my correct name.”

She added: “They fingerprinted me. They took mugshots of me under this person’s name.”

Her husband and dad, a military veteran, worked for two days to clear the mix up — while Smith was behind bars.

“The actual process was so humiliating, so degrading to have to strip naked, to have to spread and cough, all while I’m experiencing a medical emergency,” Smith said.

Smith added that she was bleeding and passing blood clots while in jail. She had to ask correctional officers several times for medical assistance.

“When I close my eyes, I’m just imagining what could have happened to me, just to be there alone and bleeding,” Smith said.

Smith was eventually taken to the hospital, where she believes healthcare providers violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). When Smith returned to VBCC, she said was placed in a detox unit because of the medication hospital staff provided to lessen the pain and bleeding. Smith was told this is standard protocol by correctional staff.

“The only people that showed me compassion were the other women in the detox tank,” Smith said.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office shared this statement with WAVY-TV 10.

“The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the security, care and custody of everyone committed into the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. We do not have any say or discretion over who is admitted into the jail. That is the purview of the arresting agency, the magistrate and/or the courts. If we receive a commitment order from the magistrate or a judge, we are required to detain that person. We cannot disclose any inmate’s medical information, which is prohibited by medical privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Inmates are housed based on a variety of classification criteria, which includes recommendations from our medical personnel. All inmates receive appropriate medical care, including any required prescriptions once they have been confirmed by our medical staff.”

The court documents obtained by the WAVY investigations team still show the wrong name, which belongs to a woman with a different middle name. The woman is wanted for aggravated assault in Baltimore County.

“Now the identities have been blurred, that’s what’s so concerning to me,” Smith said. “I am a medical professional here in the 757. I have clinicals coming up like they run background checks. What does this mean for me? What does this mean for housing, if I go apply for a house?”

Paperwork shows VBPD “began to have concerns of [the] identity” adding a VBPD lieutenant noticed inconsistencies with the fingerprints. Smith was later released with a $5 bond.

“That was the extent of their sorry,” Smith said.

VBPD released the following response, “We are aware of the concerns levied by [Mrs.] Smith and have opened up an internal investigation into the incident to assess the actions of the responding officer.”

The mom of two had to hire an attorney for an extradition hearing last Thursday.

“The judge was extremely dismissive,” she said. “This was not a hearing about the identity. This was not a hearing about whether or not Virginia Beach [law enforcement] made a mistake. It was just merely to address, ‘Are we going to extradite this person or not?’ Once they said dismissal, it was on to the next case. That’s all the appearance in court was. Is the Commonwealth going to further pursue this?”

She is disappointed that she must navigate how to correct all of the legal documents and get the case expunged from her record.

“I’ve been doing my own footwork, contacting the ACLU [and] different complaint lines,” Smith said. “I’m just more so concerned for my professional career.”

Smith plans to start an online petition and go before Virginia Beach City Council next Tuesday.

“I’m just thankful that there are people who are willing to listen to my story,” she said, “and that if this does happen to you, don’t be silent about it.”

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