OAKLAND (KRON)– The City of Oakland has approved a nearly $1 million settlement with the woman at the center of the Oakland Police Department sex scandal.
The Oakland City Council voted early Wednesday morning to pay Jasmine, formerly known as Celeste Guap, $989,000.
Jasmine claimed that she was victimized and exploited by Oakland police officers when she was under age.
The investigation led Oakland to go through three police chiefs.
Jasmine was originally looking for $66 million.
Oakland’s city attorney recommended that the city settles for just under $1 million.
The $989,000 settlement was approved around 2:00 a.m.
Jasmine has also filed claims against Richmond, Livermore, and San Francisco.
Civil rights attorney John Burris held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the settlement.
During the conference, Jasmine said she is happy to close this chapter of her life.
“I can now close this chapter and move on with my life,” Jasmine said.
The teen said she wants to take classes related to animals because she loves working with them.
Criminal charges have been filed against four former and current Oakland police officers for allegedly knowing about her claims but failing to inform supervisors, having sex with her when she was underage and giving her confidential police information.
Burris said the teen “was abused and taken advantage of by a number of officers” from many law enforcement agencies, saying they were “passing her around like a kick ball.”
Burris said the officers who were involved with the woman “should be held to a high personal standard of integrity” but took advantage of her even though “they are supposed to protect young girls like this.”
The attorney said, “Each officer is responsible for his conduct but apparently they believed they were above the law and no one would care because her credibility was called into question.”
The teen said, “I didn’t think anybody cared” about what happened to her but feels “grateful” that her Oakland claim has been settled.
Burris, who said he and other attorneys who worked on her case will have their legal fees deducted from the settlement, said the money that the woman receives “will be utilized in such a way that benefits her training and security.”
Burris said he and others will help the teen “as she moves on in her life and is freed of the ravages of the Oakland Police Department.”
The woman testified two weeks ago at the preliminary hearing of former Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton, who will stand trial on a felony obstruction of justice charge and a misdemeanor prostitution charge, that she began working as a prostitute at the age of 12.
The teen said Wednesday that, “I’m a good person and I come from a good family” and Burris said “she’s been helped by the support she’s received from her family.”
Burris said the Oakland settlement “will have no carryover to the other departments” who face claims that have been filed on behalf of the woman.
He said he and other lawyers will be investigating further before pursuing litigation against those agencies.
Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement that the settlement is fair.
Parker added, “Oakland is continuing its work to ensure that our Police Department is a model of constitutional and professional law enforcement. To achieve that goal, we must honestly acknowledge and assess
violations of the public trust and take action to make sure they never happen again.”
City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said in a statement, “The magnitude of this scandal, not only the number of officers accused of sexual misconduct but the number that are alleged to have known about it and not done anything, suggests that we need fundamental culture change.”
Kaplan said, “We need to ensure that we are building the conditions that make it possible to have trust and healing between the community and our law enforcement officers and cut sexual misconduct and other forms of abuse.”
Statement from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf:
“It was in the best interest of the City to settle this matter quickly and fairly. We remain focused on rebuilding the public trust that was so damaged by this incident. I’m grateful to our new Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick for bringing her energy, experience and dynamic leadership to this task, as well as to the Police Commission Selection Committee that is working to seat Oakland’s first-ever civilian police oversight commission. These steps further our commitment to consistently advancing best practices, holding officers accountable, and ensuring that OPD meets the highest standards of policing. I also recognize those dedicated members of the Oakland Police Department who, despite last year’s challenges, stayed focused on their mission to make Oakland safer through fair and principled policing and gave Oakland its safest year since 2005.”
Bay City News contributed to this report.
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