Student Shaken After OCCC Police Falsely Call Her Criminal
By: John Benson, Staff Writer
An OCCC student who was falsely charged with three motor vehicle related crimes in late 2018 and who had to pay over $4,000 in bond monies and court and attorney fees said she is shaken and feels the college has abandoned her.
Brittani Dixon, community and public health, said she is frustrated about the incorrect identification by campus police, and the false allegations, which caused her to go to jail, be fingerprinted, have her mugshot taken, hire attorneys and has resulted in panic attacks.
Dixon was accused of forcefully driving a white truck into a parked car on campus and fleeing the scene. She was also charged with leaving the scene without stopping and giving required information and with driving without a license, according to court records.
All charges were dismissed against her for lack of evidence July 31, according to court records.
During her endeavor, Dixon was required to pay $1,000 cash to be released from jail. Later, she hired an attorney for $3,000 to defend her, she said.
Dixon said she became aware of the charges against her and that there was a warrant for her arrest earlier this year as she was meeting with her attorney during divorce proceedings.
“I was shocked. I thought [my attorney] was crazy,” she said.
She claims the OCCC officer who provided information incorrectly naming her chose her out of three videoed suspects who had been tracked using OCCC campus security cameras.
However, she said the video evidence the OCCC officer used in the identification shows only non-African American women. Dixon is black. The video has not yet been released to the Pioneer.
The Pioneer has been unable to independently verify the name of the officer.
Further, Dixon was accused of driving a white truck in the hit-and-run. Dixon’s vehicle is black, not a truck and was inoperable at the time of the crash, she said.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t understand that someone said they had me on camera because the car doesn’t match up,” she said.
She also possesses documentation indicating she was inside campus buildings, completing her unpaid internship and meeting with Financial Aid representatives when the hit-and-run occurred.
The Pioneer was denied access to speak with Campus Police Chief Daniel Piazza for comment about which officer named Dixon and to get comment about the mixup.
Dixon said she still has a ways to go before she is able to pay off her attorney fees. She said she has reached out to college administration for assistance but has been turned away.
“It hurts me that a student can be treated like this and everyone is turning their backs”
Dixon said she is hurt most because the officer who falsely accused her is still working on campus.
“Every time I’ve seen him, I damn near had a panic attack,” she said. “The main thing I want from this is for something to happen to that officer and for the police department to at least acknowledge that what had happened was wrong.”
Despite the charges being dropped, Dixon will continue to have a criminal record and will have to indicate on job applications she has been arrested. She said she has already lost one job because of this series of events.