The Oakland City Council early Wednesday morning approved a nearly $1 million settlement with a woman at the center of a sex abuse scandal that rocked the police department.
The 19-year-old woman known as “Jasmine,” who went by the street name Celeste Guap, said she had sex with multiple officers from the Oakland Police Department as well as other law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area, some when she was underage.
“I feel happy that I can close this chapter and move on with my life,” Jasmine said while holding back tears at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Jasmine added the scandal has “taken a toll on me.”
Council members voted 7-1 around 2 a.m. in favor of a $989,000 settlement that comes in response to the teen’s allegations that officers violated her constitutional rights.
“The settlement will occur with no admission of liability, but obviously if you pay $1 million, you figure you got some responsibility,” said John Burris, Jasmine’s attorney.
The woman, who is the daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher, accused four Oakland police officers of having sex with her when she was a minor.
The case broke in 2015 after Officer Brendan O’Brien killed himself, leaving behind a note detailing Jasmine’s sexual encounters with officers.
“All the facts were talked about, the law was talked about, in terms of Jasmine, how she’s doing, what does she think,” Burris said. “So all the factors were taken into consideration.”
Burris said the original claim asking for $66 million was made by a previous representative of Jasmine.
Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan issued a statement in which she acknowledged that “many are feeling dismay with this gross misconduct that was not only harmful to the then minor, Jasmine, but also that the misconduct will cost taxpayers as well.”
However, Kaplan added that she viewed the settlement as a form of closure.
“It is time to pay the settlement agreement to let this young woman get on with her life and her healing, but also for Oakland to step up and change the culture in the police department and change how we recruit and train our officers,” she said.
The settlement ends the city’s financial liability, but some say it points to the need for a new culture in the Oakland Police Department.
“How did we create this culture where so many in the department either were willing to engage in or hide sexual misconduct?” Burris said. “It seems we need to rebuild the department with more women and more respect.”
Burris said he’s considering cases against law enforcement in Livermore, San Francisco, Richmond, Alameda County and Contra Costa County.
In addition to the potential civil cases, a number of law enforcement officers in the Bay Area lost their jobs and some have been criminally charged in connection with Jasmine.
Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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