Jennifer Gayman, a disabled Brookings woman convicted of fleeing police on her mobility scooter, was sentenced Thursday to five days in the Curry County jail, 18 months probation and fined $500 by Curry County Circuit Court Judge Jesse Margolis.
Gayman is expected to report to jail June 14.
Gayman’s conviction stems from a Nov. 2018 incident in which she was cited by Brookings police for failure to wear a helmet and driving her mobility scooter on the sidewalk and through a pedestrian crosswalk.
Gayman was found guilty in January in Brookings Municipal Court of “unsafe operation of a motor assisted scooter, operation of a scooter in a crosswalk and failure to wear protective headgear.” She was fined more than $250.
After being stopped by police for those offenses, she led police on a low-speed chase on her mobility scooter as she proceeded home. Video of the pursuit recently went viral on social media.
Prior to hearing her sentence, Gayman submitted a letter to Margolis outlining her argument the original stop was unlawful, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Margolis told Gayman, “It’s not up to you to decide when the police are trying to stop you, whether they have a valid reason to stop you or not,” adding, “People don’t get to decide ‘This isn’t a good enough reason to stop me so I’m just going to leave.’”
After Gayman’s sentencing, her attorney Rick Inokuchi said, “I think this is a waste of time and resources,” in reference to the county’s prosecution of Gayman. He said charges were originally brought against her for misdemeanor disorderly conduct but ultimately ended up as felony fleeing a police officer.
Gayman said she plans to “appeal to the highest court,” adding she felt “five days in jail, 18 months probation and a felony charge is extremely harsh.”
Gayman said she is also proceeding with a civil lawsuit against the City of Brookings and its police department for infringing on her ADA rights.
“I am not done fighting for my civil rights as a disabled American. This is not over,” Gayman said. “I’m going to be taking it as far as I can.”