FILE – In this June 28, 2019, file photo, Tremayne Nez stands outside the Coconino County courthouse in Flagstaff. Nez, a Flagstaff man who was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of selling LSD, has reached a settlement with the city.
FLAGSTAFF — A Flagstaff man who was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of selling LSD has reached a settlement with the city of Flagstaff that includes a $75,000 payment.
The parties filed a document in court Monday to dismiss the federal case, several months after Tremayne Nez, who is Navajo, accused Flagstaff police of ignoring evidence that showed he wasn’t a drug dealer. The city said it cleared the arrest as soon as police became aware of what they said was a case of mistaken identity and apologized.
The city agreed to pay Nez and his wife, Marcella, $75,000, issue a written apology, help ensure all court and law enforcement records clearly indicate Nez is innocent and pursue dismissal of the drug charge with prejudice, meaning it can’t be refiled.
Nez was among dozens of people arrested in 2019 as part of a multiagency operation to nab drug dealers around Flagstaff. Police worked with a paid informant to purchase several tabs of LSD from a man named “Trey” in the parking lot of an apartment complex where Nez no longer lived.
Nez and the actual suspect shared the same nickname, were in their early 20s, have similar physical features and are Native American, leading to the mistaken identity, police said.
The suspect had longer hair than Nez and a tooth abnormality, and Nez wears glasses.