While Dahsa Fincher was in a Macon, Georgia jail on an impossible bond to raise, $1 million, a serious illness she suffers from was not allowed to be treated. An injury sustained while she was in jail too went untreated. And, she was not there for her family during both painful and joyous occasions: her daughter suffering a miscarriage and her daughter-in-law giving birth to her twin grandsons.
For the three months Fincher, 40, stayed locked up on drug charges, her world was generally turned upside down. Ultimately, she was released and the charges were dropped.
But Fincher is suing because the drugs she was alleged to have possessed and trafficked were not drugs. It was a bag of shriveled cotton candy. She told the cops as much that night. But she was placed under arrest and imprisoned for more than 13 weeks, not for trafficking in methamphetamine but for having a car littered with evidence of kids.
Fincher’s federal lawsuit is serious business, though. She alleges she was falsely arrested and incarcerated willfully and wrongfully in violation of her Constitutional rights. She is suing for damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious arrest, malicious imprisonment, and a malicious prosecution. And a slew of other charges of neglect and abuse while she was in jail.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fincher & David Morris Jr. Were Pulled Over on New Year’s Eve in 2016. Deputies Searched The Car & Found a Bag Containing a Blue crystalized Substance. Cops Ran a Field-Test & Said it Was Meth. Fincher Said it Was Cotton Candy.
Fincher was in a car driven by Morris. Deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson pulled them over, on a pretext, her lawsuit alleges, that the car’s window tint was too dark. After telling them the car’s window tint didn’t end up violating the law after they were pulled over, the deputies said they had suspended licenses and then asked to search the car, according to court records.
They discovered a “plastic bag filled with a blue crystal-like substance in the passenger side floorboard,” court documents read. Records show the initial incident report states that Fincher seemed nervous and described her as “shaking” and “very anxious” when she was asked about the baggie. She insisted it was the remnants of the dried sugary confection.
But the deputies ran a field test called a Nark II roadside kit. They said at the scene the substance came back positive for crystal meth.
The two were arrested.
2. Fincher Was Charged with Trafficking & Possessing Meth. A Judge Set Bond at $1 Million & She Was Put in Jail Awaiting Official Drug Testing by the GBI
Fincher was charged with trafficking meth and possession of meth with intent to distribute. A judge ordered her to be jailed on a $1 million bond, which she couldn’t afford, so in jail she remained for months while the GBI tested the substance.
Fincher’s lawsuit says it was the faulty test reported by the two Monroe County deputies, Maples and Henderson and the test kit manufacturer, Sirchie, that led to her incarceration. And a chain of failures afterward.
3. GBI Knew the Substance Was, Well, Cotton Candy on March 22 of 2017. It Took Weeks For Fincher to be Released. It Wasn’t the First Time Georgians Had Been Arrested & Jailed for Drugs That Were Not Drugs
In March 2017, the GBI said the blue material contained no controlled substances, and she was released from jail on April 4 with her charges dropped about two weeks later, the lawsuit said.
And “although the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, issued their report showing the sealed bag of blue solid material had no controlled substances on March 22, 2017, Dasha Fincher was not released from jail until April 4, 2017. She was bonded out on her own recognizance at that time.”
Two weeks later she had to go back to court and it was then that the charges were dropped. But, the arrest for trafficking of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute remains on Dasha Fincher’s record.
4. A Lot Had Happened to Her & Her Family While She Was Locked Up Waiting to Find Out the Cotton Candy on the Floor of the Car Was Cotton Candy
Fincher said she suffered in jail And her family did, too. On January 10, 2017, her daughter-in-law gave birth to twin boys. She’d planned on being there “for the birth as her daughter-in-law does not have a mother in her life,” the lawsuit reads.
After the babies were born, her “son visited her in jail to introduce her to her new grandsons. When her son arrived, he was arrested for an outstanding failure to appear bench warrant.” That incident worsened an already unbearable situation and Fincher, “following her son’s arrest, frustrated with her incarceration, injured her hand on a concrete wall, resulting in a broken hand.” She was seen by a doctor but because of swelling, got a brace and was to return for a full cast.
Monroe County refused to bring her back for treatment and, for physical therapy; it was not allowed, her lawsuit reads. She “continues to suffer from the lack of proper medical attention” while she was in jail.
Also while incarcerated, her daughter suffered a miscarriage: “Rather than being there to console and assist her daughter during this time, she was incarcerated for being present in a car in which a bag of blue cotton candy was left in the floor board.”
And, Fincher “also informed the Sheriff that she had a cyst on her ovary that required medical attention. She was taken once to the ER for her cyst, but was not allowed to have follow-up treatment with an OB/GYN, as recommended. Despite repeated requests, she was denied proper medical treatment. One female jailer even went so far as to tell her to ‘get over it’ because she, herself, had had an ovarian cyst before.”
5. Fincher Filed a Federal Lawsuit Against Monroe County Georgia’s Board of Commissioners, the Two Sheriff’s Deputies & the Drug Test Comonay
Fincher filed a lawsuit in federal court against the board of commissioners in Monroe County, the two deputies and the drug test manufacturer Sirchie Acquisition Company.
“This is a civil action arising from the wrongful, unlawful and false arrest and incarceration of Dasha Fincher caused by the willful and wrongful acts of the Defendants in violation of Dasha Fincher’s rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” reads the complaint filed in federal district court for Georgia’s middle district, Macon County.
Fincher seeks money damages for what she went through. Her claims are that the defendants are responsible for “false
arrest, false imprisonment, malicious arrest, malicious imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligent employment, negligent training, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent inmate care, negligent medical care, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, improper manufacture of the roadside drug testing kit, negligent design of the drug testing kit, failure to warn of false results from the drug testing kit, failure to provide adequate instructions on use of the roadside drug testing kit and personal injury.
Also, the suit claims police dashcam video shows Fincher “calm” while talking to police. She argues in her lawsuit that “the deputies should have known the drug test could result in false positives, that it would have been unlikely for someone to leave a large bag of meth in plain sight and that the county improperly trained them how to identify illicit drugs. And, The test kits, according to the suit, have a “history of producing false positive results.”
Fincher is seeking punitive damages, as well as attorney and court fees.