SANTA ROSA, Calif. – A Northern California mother and daughter were sentenced to 30 days in jail after their conviction for failing to cooperate with a black officer, in part because of his race.
Michelle Lemos, 48, and Gabrielle Lemos, 19, both white, were taken to jail Monday after an emotional hearing in which sheriff's Deputy Marcus Holton demanded they each be sentenced to a year in jail, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported .
The veteran Sonoma County Sheriff's Department deputy was responding to a domestic disturbance report at the Lemos' home in 2015 when he encountered a chaotic scene of an alcohol-fueled high school graduation party. Holton's body-worn camera captured the finger-wagging women shouting at the deputy. They were also recorded using racial slurs during a later phone call.
"I will tell you, Gabrielle Lemos, you delayed and resisted me throughout this incident," Holton, 44, said, choking back tears. "I come to find out it was because of the color of my skin."
The Lemoses filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, accusing Holton and the sheriff's department of police brutality. The younger Lemos suffered black eyes and facial bruising after getting thrown on the ground. That lawsuit has been invalidated because of the conviction, the Press Democrat reported.
The judge who sentenced the mother and daughter cited their clean criminal history before the incident for not sentencing them to the maximum sentence of a year in jail.
The pair's attorney Izaak Schwaiger said he plans to appeal the conviction.