Mother sues federal government for wrongly deporting daughter; Suit seeks $15M

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | May 25, 2012

HOUSTON - A Dallas County woman is suing the federal government for $15 million after her teenage daughter was deported to South America.

Johnisa Turner's suit, filed May 22 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, alleges the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security wrongfully arrested and detained 15-year-old Jakadrien Turner and then sent her to Colombia.

The original petition lists eight defendants including U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

According to the original complaint, the deportation in May 2011 proceeded despite the girl's American citizenship. The suit asserts Harris County Jail Detention Center officials ignored ample evidence.

The plaintiff states that a presumed child predator lured her daughter away from Dallas and brought the girl to Houston with the intent to have her sell drugs.

Jakadrien's disappearance was then reported to the Dallas Police Department, which classified the girl as a runaway.

She later escaped from her captor with the intent of returning to her family, but since she had no money and was too young at the time to land a job, she turned to shoplifting, the suit says.

Houston police arrested her at Greenspoint Mall in Houston on April 2, 2011, and she was transported to a substation to await arraignment.

Jakadrien's mother adds the teen's fear of law enforcement prompted the teen to give authorities a false name, but that name was that of a 22-year-old Colombian national who had a file.

Jakadrien was then taken to the Harris County Jail where she was booked on a theft charge under the name she provided authorities.

After spending more than a month behind bars and unsuccessfully trying to convince officials that she was born and raised in Dallas, Jakadrien was flown to Colombia on May 23, 2011.

The suit argues the teen did not know Spanish and knew no one in the country and became pregnant during her seven-month stay.

According to the plaintiff, she and the family relied on the media to secure Jakadrien's return home.

The ordeal "could have been avoided," the suit says.

It blames the defendants for acting under the color of law, in bad faith and contrary to established law and principles of constitutional and statutory law and contends their actions were not only racist in nature but "a reckless disregard for human life and liberty."

Jakadrien's mother insists her daughter's life "will never been the same again" since physical and psychological injuries were inflicted.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 4:12-cv-1570

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