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Video: Cop 'aggravated' when HIV+ suspect fails to disclose status

Officer said he would have liked to have been informed prior to his search, which turned up pills and earrings

By PoliceOne Staff

DEARBORN, Mich. — A traffic stop by a Dearborn police officer has prompted concerns of "HIV discrimination," according to a report analyzing the dash cam video.

Officer David Lacey pulled over a truck last month for a burnt out taillight and performed a search of the vehicle and a passenger's purse, becoming "aggravated" when he found HIV medication.

In the video, Lacey uncovers a pill bottle and asks Shalandra Jones about its contents. When she responds that she is HIV positive, he tells her she should disclose that status during police searches, which is not required by law.

"If you ever get pulled out for any reason, you want to tell us, OK?," Lacey said. "Cause I want to make sure I put gloves on and all that stuff, OK?"

The purse also contained earrings, which an HIV expert interviewed by the American Independent said posed a perceived risk for Lacey.

"He has no idea what’s inside and who knows what he would come across or injure himself, even using caution," Dr. Paul Benson said. "The earrings themselves were probably of a very low risk, but still an unknown risk."

Lacey said he would have liked to have been informed of the HIV status prior to the search.

“That kind of really aggravated me, you know what I mean?" he said. “You got to tell me right away, ‘I’ve got this. I’ve got that.’”

Jones, who said she was a medical marijuana patient but carried an expired card, received a ticket for illegal marijuana possession. Driver Mark Scott was cited for driving without a license.

An online petition has been posted asking that Jones' charges be dropped and police provide better training in HIV and disclosure laws, according to the report. It claims Lacey "used his authority to make [Jones] feel like she was obligated to disclose her HIV status."

Jones has filed a complaint against Dearborn police.

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