Woman Says ‘Cops’ & Namesakes Defamed Her

     ATLANTA (CN) – A Georgia cop planted bogus cocaine in a law-abiding woman’s car to arrest and defame her for an episode of the television show “Cops,” she claims in court.
     Elizabeth Leigh Butler sued Gwinnett County, its police chief and former police chief, the officer who arrested her, and Langley Productions, in Gwinnett County Court.
     Butler was parked with a friend behind a Methodist church at around 12:52 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2013, when defendant Gwinnett police Officer Paul Tremblay approached them. Butler had no criminal record before the bogus arrest, and none after, she says in the complaint.
     On May 20 that year, the Gwinnett Police Department had contracted with Langley Productions to help it film an episode of “Cops,” Butler says.
     With film rolling, without her knowledge, Tremblay claimed to have found a suspicious white substance on her floorboard, according to the complaint.
     Tremblay tested it for cocaine and methamphetamine, and when it tested negative he said on the unedited videotape “that he was going to conduct a secondary test for cocaine and then ‘give them the bad news,'” the complaint states.
     Butler’s attorney got the unedited tape through discovery.
     Tremblay claimed the second test was positive for cocaine, and he arrested Butler and her friend for “loitering and prowling” and took them to jail.
     State investigators tested the white stuff and found no drugs at all in it, and the county and state dropped all the charges against her – after the “Cops” show was broadcast on Dec. 15, 2013, Butler says in the lawsuit.
     The broadcast “destroyed” her reputation, gave her a bogus arrest record, and defamed her again every time anyone saw her on social media since the broadcast: more than 33,000 times, she says. She says it’s still defaming her on a daily basis.
     She seeks punitive damages for defamation, false arrest, false imprisonment, failure to supervise, wantonness, negligence, constitutional violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     She is represented by John Burdges, of Buford.
     Former Gwinnett Police Chief Charles Walters and present Chief A.A. Ayers are also named as defendants.

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