- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A federal lawsuit says Jacksonville and its police department enforced unconstitutional policies in the separate arrests of a black man and pregnant white woman who didn’t have identification.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reported (https://bit.ly/1TCyG3G) the plaintiffs claim the arrests violated civil rights and protections against unlawful search and seizure. Neither Eric Williams nor Mercedes Hart was convicted at trial.

City attorney Brian Edes says both were arrested after calls to police. He says one call reported a disturbance and the other reported a suspicious person. He says the police department trains officers well and he’ll seek dismissal of the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are seeking actual, compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. The lawsuit says Williams spent 45 days in jail on $50,540 bond that he couldn’t afford.

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