'A Convenient Scapegoat'

'A Convenient Scapegoat'

Cherie Townsend is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after she says they falsely imprisoned her for murder, destroyed her reputation

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell  [Photo: David McNew/Getty Images]

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell [Photo: David McNew/Getty Images]

When Cherie Townsend was admitted into L.A. County Jail last year, she was so distraught, she couldn’t eat. According to her lawyer, the day Townsend was to get arraigned, she collapsed.  

“I think due to exhaustion and lack of eating, her body just gave out,” Nazareth Haysbert, Townsend’s lawyer, told The Appeal.

Townsend was accused of murdering a 66-year-old retired nurse in an affluent Los Angeles suburb; she says in a civil rights lawsuit that she was falsely accused and arrested for the crime.

Susan Leeds was found dead in the parking lot of the Rolling Hills Estates mall on May 3, 2018. She had been stabbed multiple times. Townsend, who said she had dropped her phone in the same parking lot while leaving the shopping mall, was later arrested at gunpoint, the lawsuit says, based on evidence that her car was parked near the scene of the murder.

Raven Rakia, writing for The Appeal, takes a closer look at the case of Cherie Townsend, who claims she was falsely imprisoned for murder. She is now suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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