Black Man Awarded Settlement After Being Detained Six Days In Jail Over Mistaken Identity

Black Man Awarded Settlement After Being Detained Six Days In Jail Over Mistaken Identity

Shane Lee Brown (left) was mistaken for Shane Neal Brown (right). (Image: CNN)

A young Black man who was wrongfully detained by police after being mistaken for a middle-aged white man who shared his name has agreed to a $90,000 settlement, according to Las Vegas-based 8 News.

On January 8, 2020, police in Henderson, Nevada—14 miles outside of Las Vegas—placed Shane Lee Brown, 25, in jail. He spent six days in two jails for a felony bench warrant meant for Shane Neal Brown, 49, who is prohibited from owning a weapon, according to records, CNN reported

A public defender finally resolved the issue of mistaken identity during a hearing on January 14, 2020, telling the judge that the Shane Brown in custody was the wrong man.  

Shane Lee Brown filed a federal lawsuit against the police departments of Henderson and Las Vegas.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, because it seemed from my perspective that they were convinced that I was this guy, I was a felon,” Shane Lee Brown said in January, recalling the incident where he tried to tell officers they arrested the wrong individual. “It seemed like they got their guy, and no one would listen to me.”

His attorney, E. Brent Bryson, said the police did not do their job efficiently to confirm his client’s identity. 

“It’s their duty to know, and if they hear it a hundred times, so be it. It doesn’t matter if they hear it all the time. They need to do their investigation, their due diligence and act appropriately,” Bryson said to CNN.

“The law says (this) rises to a level of deliberate indifference and that’s what happened here. They just didn’t care. They just didn’t do anything,” Bryson concluded.

If the officers were more diligent, they would have found the court records matching Shane Neal Brown’s SCOPE ID and his warrant detailing that he is a white man with brown hair and blue eyes, his attorney contends. Police would have also known that Neal Brown was born in 1971 compared to Lee Brown, who was born in 1986.