top of page

Teen Fined $500 Over Stealing Accusations Is Suing City For Violating Her Civil Rights 

Amara Harris, a young Black woman from suburban Chicago, won a years-long legal battle against a police ticket accusing her of stealing a classmate's AirPods. Recently, she filed a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations, racial discrimination, and malicious prosecution. In 2019, a police officer at her school ticketed her for theft, despite Harris asserting she mistakenly picked up the AirPods, thinking they were hers.

“They were wrong and they have to face consequences and be held accountable for what they did and for dragging this on,” Harris told ProPublica this week.

Despite a lack of evidence, the city refused to drop the ticket, potentially costing Harris $500. She maintained her innocence and took the case to a rare jury trial, where she was found not liable. The lawsuit names Naperville, the police officer, and his supervisor, seeking compensatory damages of at least $20 million, punitive damages, and reforms in training and oversight.

The case gained attention through a ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation into school ticketing. Harris hopes the lawsuit will ensure fair treatment for students. The city plans to defend against the lawsuit, arguing their actions were based on statements from school officials and students. Harris, now 21, graduated from Spelman College and aims to apply to veterinary school.

Link: Pro Publica 


bottom of page