The African-American woman, identified as Dr. Cordula Lutz, said she was repeatedly humiliated and singled out for malicious prosecution due to her race.
“The way I was treated was inhumane, and I believe the way I was treated was based on the colour of my skin,” said Lutz, a family physician who has practiced medicine in Charlotte since 2009. “I have worked hard for everything I have, and I am not a criminal.”
According to AP, Dr. Lutz was at the Charlotte Amphitheatre with friends in June 2019 when the incident happened.
She said while she was at a concert of rapper Jon Bellion with friends, she decided to buy a beer. As she paid for the beer with one of two $100 bills her mother had given her during a visit to her parents’ home in Maryland, she discovered that the bartender had marked the bills, indicating that it wasn’t counterfeit and gave her change.
Shortly afterward, three Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers approached Lutz, escorted her out of the venue and accused her of presenting a counterfeit bill, the lawsuit said. She asked why they believed it was counterfeit, and one of the officers responded, “Oh, it’s counterfeit because I know,” the lawsuit said.
“The lawsuit is all about accountability and making sure that the discrimination, the presumption of guilt, does not continue to become a pattern of habit when dealing with people who are productive citizens who don’t have a criminal history and who do all they can to stay on straight and narrow,” Dr. Lutz’s attorney said.
Charlotte Observer reported that the lawsuit, which was filed on Jan 31, also alleged negligence in hiring, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and discrimination at a public accommodation based on race and ethnicity.