The life of a woman allegedly exploited by police officers across the Bay Area is under threat, and her shipment to a Florida treatment center appears to be an attempt to get her out of the way, lawyers said at a Thursday news conference.
“The child’s life remains under threat,” said Pamela Price, a civil rights attorney who, along with Charles Bonner, went to Martin County, Florida, to bring 19-year-old Jasmine Abuslin back from jail.
Abuslin — known in numerous past media reports by the name “Celeste Guap” — has said she had sex with three San Francisco police officers, and one of those officers, Roger Ponce De Leon, is currently under investigation. The other two officers have not been named publicly. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has announced plans to charge seven East Bay officers for their involvement with Abuslin and also said there is evidence implicating two SFPD officers.
“We understand that there are police officers in San Francisco that need to be charged,” Price said Thursday.
With the entry of Abuslin’s lawyers into the sprawling scandal that has touched SFPD and law enforcement officials from Oakland and Richmond and the Alameda County sheriff’s department, it appears Abuslin finally has advocates speaking on her behalf.
“This was a child,” Bonner said. “She is still a child. Her childhood has been ripped away from her.”
Bonner and Price, who plan to file a lawsuit on behalf of their client, said Abuslin is now in a safe place after being removed from a Florida county jail.
Abuslin was not present at Thursday’s news conference. Her lawyers would not say where she is, but they did say she will be receiving treatment from a Stanford doctor to deal with the trauma she has experience since being trafficked since she was 12 years old.
Abuslin’s lawyers were also critical of everyone involved in the scandal, from the police who took advantage of her to politicians and the media.
“The fox is watching the hen house,” Price said in reference to Richmond and Alameda County findings that some of the officers implicated broke no laws.
“The [police] betrayed that trust, they violated the law,” Bonner said. “They must be prosecuted. They must go to jail.”
That betrayal, according to the lawyers, seems to include Richmond police, who they say sent Abuslin to the Florida treatment facility.
“Why would you need to send her 3,000 miles away,” asked Price, who noted there are many similar facilities in California. “Did they want to dirty her up?”
According to the attorneys, Abuslin was convinced to go to Florida so that she could be treated for alleged drug abuse, which is something she is not struggling with.
Once in the airport, Abuslin was met by someone holding a sign and was driven for several hours to the facility, according to the attorneys. Once there, Abuslin asked to call her father and was denied.
After several days without being allowed to make a call, Abuslin reportedly tried to leave and was treated roughly by several staff members, one of whom injected her with something, the lawyers said. Abuslin reportedly fought back and was subsequently arrested and charged with felony assault.
Abuslin pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery and was released.
But according to Price, her client’s public image was further tarnished by the Florida episode.
“It smells, looks, feels like a set up to me,” she said.