Lawsuit targets city policy in domestic violence cases

A federal lawsuit challenges what it says is a Georgia city's policy of collecting a fee from alleged victims of domestic violence who decline to participate in the prosecution of their alleged abusers.

The Southern Center for Human Rights on Wednesday filed the lawsuit against the city of Columbus, a judge and several law enforcement officers.

City attorneys didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

The lawsuit says Cleopatra Harris called 911 to report abuse. Officers took her statement, observed her injuries, arrested her boyfriend and told her to appear in court.

The lawsuit says Harris confirmed an officer's account in court of what happened but said she didn't want to press charges. The lawsuit says the judge then told her she owed $150 since she wanted to dismiss the case.