Jury awards Black family $8.25 million in wrongful detention by deputies at California Starbucks

Starbcucks in Castro Valley, Calif.

By David K. Li

A federal jury found that sheriff’s deputies wrongly detained a Black family at a Northern California Starbucks and ordered compensation of $8.25 million.

Aasylei Loggervale and her two daughters had pulled into a Starbucks in Castro Valley, about 25 miles southeast of downtown San Francisco, in September 2019 when Alameda County sheriff’s deputies handcuffed them in connection with a string of auto thefts, according to their federal lawsuit.

Jurors found in the plaintiffs’ favor this month and set damages at $2.75 million for each of the three.

“This is vindication and validation for the Loggervales that they’ve been wronged, and that means a lot,” Craig Peters, their attorney, said Thursday.

The deputies, who are white, are alleged to have told them they were being investigated for “car burglaries committed by unidentified Black men” in recent months, the plaintiffs said.

Loggervale refused to show her driver’s license as she and her daughters, who were 19 and 17 at the time, firmly but calmly “stated that they had not done anything wrong and had no connection whatsoever to any auto burglaries,” their civil complaint said.

All three were handcuffed as deputies searched their car, purses and cellphones before they were released with no citations or criminal charges.

A federal jury in the Northern District of California found that deputies and Alameda County violated the constitutional rights of Aasylei Loggervale and her daughters, Aaottae Loggervale and Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale, and breached state civil protections against police harassment.

“The community’s trust in my agency is foundational to my mission of maintaining a positive relationship with those we serve,” Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez said in a statement Thursday.

“The facts of this case are extremely important to me and our community members, however, I must reserve my comments until the case has been fully adjudicated through the court system.”

The county has until the end of the month to file an appeal, and Peters said Thursday that defense lawyers have not given him any indication whether they will continue the legal fight.

Representatives of the Alameda County Counsel Department and the county supervisor who represents Castro Valley could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

The two deputies who detained Loggervale and her daughters are still employed by the department, a sheriff’s spokesperson said.

Loggervale’s daughters are set to graduate from college this spring: Aaottae Loggervale from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale from UCLA.

“I really hope that this becomes an opportunity for everybody to sit down together and say: ‘OK this is a problem. How do we solve this?'” Peters said.

“How can we empower our law enforcement officers to do their job in such a way that it is not adversely impacting communities of color?”