Police misconduct comes in different forms, and sometimes placing a person in prison based on false information can cause damage to their reputation as well as other forms of economic harm. The police normally have to make arrests when they catch suspects in the process of committing a crime or based on the testimony of nearby witnesses. However, in some cases police take out personal vendettas against innocent people by having them placed under arrest on false charges. Other times, police do not bother to investigate claims before making an arrest and an innocent person ends up in jail. A Columbia County incident shows how this process can take place.
Lake City man charged with multiple false crimes by former lover
A Lake City man was initially jailed after a complaint by his ex-girlfriend stated that he was stalking her with multiple unwanted phone calls and gaining access to her social media and email accounts. The arresting officer seems to have simply taken the woman’s word without doing any kind of investigative work. A later investigation by the local State Attorney’s Office pulled the man’s phone records and other relevant information. It became obvious that the calls were never made and the story was entirely false. The woman who made the claims was eventually charged and jailed for filing a false police report. However, her ex-boyfriend served thirty days in prison before the situation was corrected.
The man is now suing the Lake City Police Department for a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The arresting officer apparently also had been using drugs, which may have impaired his judgment.
Lawsuits for false arrest
In a case like this, it seems that the victim has a strong claim that the police breached their standard duty of care by not doing a minimal amount of investigative work before making an arrest. Usually, the word of two people with different stories is not enough to give probable cause for an arrest without some other kind of corroborating evidence. Because this is a basic principle of police work, it seems very strange that the arresting officer from Lake City would not look into the story any further at all and insist the man was guilty. However, there are other questions and issues related to the officer’s use of narcotics.
The elements of a false arrest claim involve taking a person into custody against their will without an actual legal reason to do so. The latter part of this claim is usually proven by an investigation that shows either no crime happened or that police officers tried to create the appearance of a crime to have a reason to make an arrest. There are also other related issues to this claim. The court will need to determine whether the person consented to the detention or whether the person was imprisoned by accident, but in most cases involving police officers and arrests, these issues are not in dispute. Like all civil lawsuits, the plaintiff will also have to bring evidence that they suffered some kind of damages. For many people, spending time in jail can mean missed time from work, job loss, illness, mental trauma, and absence from other obligations. All of these problems can be quantified into an approximate value when the lawsuit is filed.
Call a Columbia County Lawyer
If you have been incarcerated or arrested based on a false accusation, it is possible to file a lawsuit and receive monetary damages. Please contact a local lawyer in the Columbia County area of Florida to share your story and receive advice about how to proceed.