GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A former 911 dispatcher for the City of Battle Creek was awarded $1 million by a jury in a federal courtroom after they found she was arrested because she criticized a detective with the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department.
Sonte Rolinda Everson filed a report that she was sexually assaulted by a Battle Creek police officer, who, at the time, was her live-in boyfriend.
Calhoun County Detective Guy Picketts investigated the case and turned over his findings to the Branch County prosecutor's office. They determined there was insufficient evidence to convict the man on sexual assault charges and declined to bring charges.
She was later arrested in both 2006 and 2007 for filing a false police report. She brought suit and claimed she was arrested after she criticized Picketts' actions about her report.
In a Grand Rapids federal court, the jury found Everson was arrested in retaliation for her comments and that there was no support for her arrests.
In the intervening years, Picketts died.
The jury awarded her $1 million, including $300,000 in punitive damages, to be paid by the estate of Detective Picketts.
In a statement released by her attorney Jennifer Salvatore, Everson said: "I am grateful to God and my son and family who have stood by and believed in me. This has been a long ordeal. To survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, know that you have the right to stand up for your life, no matter who the perpetrator is. Justice will eventually prevail."
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