SACRAMENTO, April 9 (UPI) -- A federal jury in California has ordered West Sacramento to pay damages to two sisters from Ghana who were handcuffed during a traffic stop.
Jurors declined to order punitive damages, The Sacramento Bee reported. They ordered $11,700 in compensatory damages to Karene Beecham, who was driving the car, and $21,700 to her sister, Karena Crankson.
Because U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, in an unusual move, found that the sisters' constitutional rights were violated, the jury only had to consider whether they were entitled to damages and how much.
The sisters, with their two young children in the car, were on a sightseeing trip when they were pulled over in 2006 for making a lane change without signaling. Officer Timothy Twardosz, who made the stop, sent a radio message suggesting that the sisters were high-risk, resulting in the arrival of three other officers.
Both women were handcuffed and detained in the backs of police cars for about half an hour before Beecham was given a ticket and they were allowed to drive off.