A Chinese businesswoman who was brutally beaten by a US border agent in a case of mistaken identity back in 2004 has finally been awarded compensation for the pains she suffered.
During her visit to Niagara Falls 13 years ago, Zhao Yan, a Tianjin business owner, was pepper sprayed and hit by US Customs and Border Patrol Officer Robert Rhodes, who mistakenly thought that the woman was a drug smuggler.
Zhao claims that Rhodes had beat her even after she showed him her ID. Following the incident, she told reporters that she had begun to suffer from severe headaches and back pain. Later, she said that the altercation had caused her serious mental trauma, leaving her unable to work and frightened of police.
“I have been to many countries in the past for business purposes, and the United States is the most barbarous,” Zhao was quoted as saying.
Customs and Border Patrol Officer Robert Rhodes
Recently, a federal judge in Rochester, New York ruled that Zhao was entitled to $461,152.09 in compensation, including more than $64,000 in medical expenses, $1,800 in lost earnings, $260,000 in past pain and suffering, $125,000 in future pain and suffering and $10,000 for false arrest.
While the compensation amount may seem like a lot, Zhao had originally sought $10 million in damages when she first filed the civil suit back in 2006.
During the trial, US authorities tried to argue that Zhao’s injuries were her own fault because she had run from Rhodes and then kicked, punched and scratched him before other officers could arrive. Zhao said that she ran because the officers had frightened her after ordering her to come inside an inspection station, mistaking her for a drug smuggler.
While Rodes was initially fired and charged following the incident. He was acquitted the next year and eventually reinstated to his old job.
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