Cartersville and police facing lawsuit by group of party-goers

The city of Cartersville, the Cartersville Police Department, individual officers, and others are facing a lawsuit filed by several young people who were arrested at a house party in December of 2017.  

It was a house party that went terribly wrong. Dozens of young people were attending a 21st birthday party. Cartersville Police showed up saying they were responding to a call of shots fired in the area.  Police said they smelled marijuana, went into the home and say they found less than an ounce of marijuana. They arrested everyone in the house. The group was dubbed the "Cartersville 70". 

Some spent three days in jail, some were strip-searched, some said they weren't even given a cot to sleep on.  

"For some folks who never had a criminal record, and this comes at them, it's a nightmare," said Gerry Weber, the lead counsel with the Southern Center for Human Rights. 

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Within a few weeks, charges were dropped.  But many of them said their lives were turned upside down.  There names and mugshots were in newspapers, on television, and on the internet. 

"You can't undo the arrest, you can't undo the domino effect that's bee happening," said Nija Guider shortly after she was arrested. 

"Their lives were turned upside down, they lost their jobs, military deferments, one was kicked off the basketball team," said Weber. 

Seven of the party-goers have now filed a lawsuit against 32 defendants including the city of Cartersville and the police department claiming their civil rights were violated and their lives were affected in a way that can't be repaired. 

"Many who have never been arrested before are going to have this spot on their records all around the internet for the rest of their lives," said Weber. 

Weber is one of 6 attorneys representing the group. They are asking for financial compensation, their records expunged, mug shots removed from jail records, as well as policy changes within the Cartersville Police Department. 

FOX 5 News contacted the city of Cartersville for comment but was told they could not comment on pending litigation.

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