This senior woman was allegedly mistreated during her overnight stay in jail.
A Florida woman, Linda Stephens, has filed a civil lawsuit against MidFlorida Credit Union after a dispute about a $600 ATM deposit landed her in jail.
According to Credit Union Times, the Black woman is a 70-year-old retired teacher and has been a member with the credit union for almost five decades. The lawsuit named the woman as a victim of racial discrimination from the credit union’s branch in Bartow.
Civil rights leader and Stephens’ legal representative, Ben Crump, held a press conference last week outside the Orange County courtroom in Orlando to address the incident where his client was allegedly mistreated and abused by police officers after they were called to the scene about Stephens’ “disorderly conduct.”
We are filing a lawsuit against a MidFlorida Credit Union Branch on behalf of Linda Stephens. The 70-yo retired teacher was arrested and suffered a BROKEN NOSE after the bank called 911 after she expressed concerns about her mortgage deposit that hadn’t shown up in her account. pic.twitter.com/sQA3H0fOHe
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 3, 2023
Banking Dive reported that Stephens spent the night in jail after visiting the MidFlorida branch in April 2021 to address unavailable funds that she reportedly deposited into her account the day before.
She was told the funds were not posted as a result of a mechanical issue the branch said was being handled by a technician, informing her the funds would be posted within hours.
Stephens returned to the credit union multiple times because the funds still weren’t posted. After questioning the bank again, she was led into a room where a technician was able to locate her funds in the machine. After asking for access to her funds, a manager called the police, who arrived with their hands on their guns.
The police report described the situation differently from the lawsuit, claiming Stephens was yelling “‘gun, gun, gun …’ over and over” and acting disorderly, leading to her arrest.
The lawsuit stated Stephens was dragged out of the police car, thrown to the ground, and placed in a holding cell before four cops threw her into the back of a police vehicle and transported her to jail, where she was allegedly stripped nude and forced to sleep on the jail floor.
Reportedly, the day after she was released, a MidFlorida regional manager visited her home to offer a $300 voucher for the situation being handled incorrectly.
“We’re sorry for any wrongful treatment that Ms. Stephens may have encountered while in police custody. Police were contacted to calm an escalating situation with an irate customer because we have an obligation to provide a secure environment for all members in the branch conducting financial transactions,” a MidFlorida representative said in a statement. “MidFlorida Credit Union is proud of our culture of inclusivity and equality as well as the high level of service we provide to all our members.”