Woman wrongly arrested, files lawsuit against city

ST. LOUIS - A former Metro bus driver is suing the City of St. Louis in federal court for her wrongful arrest in 2009.

Shannon McNeal's lawyer said city prosecutors and officers had a warrant for a Shannon McNeal who didn't show up to court on drug charges because she was dead. A court clerk made a mistake and clicked the wrong woman for the warrant.

Prosecutors and officers said they didn't know they were arresting the wrong woman. McNeal's lawyer Jim Hacking said, "They did know she was dead, they were waiting for a death certificate. Nonetheless they placed this warrant on Shannon McNeal. They had the wrong Shannon Mcneal. She was arrested in front of her kids, hauled off to jail, fumigated with chemicals, cause an allergic reaction, she lost her job with Metro, she was unable to get a job and lost an apartment."

Hacking said the city is using an old system that makes it hard to remove bad information.

"Once you're linked in with someone else, there's no way in the present system to disconnect from that other person. It's an old system called Regis, it's dated and corrupted too many people have access to it. We've seen lawsuits like this in Denver and Sacramento and part of the outcome was that police departments were forced to clean up the data," Hacking said.

He expects to file more wrongful arrest lawsuits this week.


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