The mother of a 13-year-old girl is suing a local school as well as Instagram on behalf of her daughter, who was wrongfully arrested and spent 11 days detained in a juvenile detention center.
Police eventually determined that a classmate of the girl had been impersonating her online, sending threatening social media messages. Nia Whims has since been exonerated of all charges against her after police found that a 12-year-old student at the same school had “maliciously impersonated” her.
The Pembroke Police Department released a statement that the 12-year-old had taken Nia’s personal details to create an email address, open multiple Instagram accounts, and send herself as well as other students threatening messages.
The accused student, identified in the suit only as M.S., used the accounts to make threats to blow up the school as well as kill teachers and students.
According to police in their statement, M.S. then “intentionally lied to law enforcement and school staff to frame” Nia for the threats.
Nia’s mother, Lezlie-Ann Davis, claimed in the lawsuit that Nia’s school did not investigate several bullying incidents that her daughter experienced, the police department failed to determine whether the Instagram accounts actually belonged to Nia, and that Instagram did not cooperate properly with authorities.
The school, Renaissance Charter School at Pines, did not answer questions about the litigation, but gave a statement through a spokesperson saying the school’s “highest priority remains the safety and security of our students. We always have and always will take all appropriate actions to ensure our students and staff are safe.”
The lawsuit says that determining whether Nia had sent the Instagram messages could have been a faster and easier process.
“The unique and singular internet fingerprint known as the ‘IP address’ is easily determined by any professional investigator, and in fact, belonged to a different device” than the one Nia used, according to the suit, which continues that the conduct of the schoo, police department, and Instagram caused “this innocent 13-year-old girl to be taken from home by the police, in front of her helpless family, and placed in a juvenile detention facility for eleven (11) days.”
Nia said in an interview on February 15, “I felt really lost about the situation.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY MAIL