Monroe County Florida is most well known for the Florida Keys. That is because aside from these islands, the county limits only include some areas in the Everglades that are mostly uninhabited. The Florida Keys are islands that function as a tropical destination for vacationers, as well as home to thousands of residents who have chosen to live in an area far away from the mainland of the United States. Despite this peaceful setting, problems do occur on the islands involving police misconduct.
Key West is the island that is the most populated and well known part of Monroe County, which means most of the county’s police activity also happens in this area. It is a destination for cruise ships, spring breakers, retirees, and a number of other vacationers every year. It is during these times that incidents involving the police are most likely to happen due to their increased presence and attempts to maintain order. Sometimes even the department’s best intentions can go wrong.
Beating at Fantasy Fest Results in Large Settlement
Fantasy Fest is a large party in Key West that happens every year for several days around Halloween. During this chaotic time, a high profile case emerged that in that involved a potentially false domestic violence charge. Lt. David Smith of the Key West Police knocked a man to the ground during this incident. The victim reported that he required surgeries to his jaw and wrist after the situation was mishandled by the officer. The domestic violence charge that was filed against the victim was never formally pursued by prosecutors, leading to speculation that the charge was merely a pretext for the interaction.
The first trial was a win for the city, but it later resulted in a mistrial on appeal over an issue regarding potential bias against homosexuals. The city then prepared to pay the victim $100,000 rather than risking larger losses or dealing with the financial burden of preparation for an additional trial.
Can a Lawyer in Monroe County win other settlements against the local police?
It many cases this depends on the severity of the injuries, the amount of publicity the case receives, and whether it looks like a case that the local police department will ultimately lose. Compensatory damages are used in civil lawsuits to cover things like medical bills, missed time from work, and other expenses related to injuries. After this incident, the multiple surgeries the victim required as well as the fact that there were other witnesses due to the crowds at that time of the year were favorable factors for the plaintiff. The City of Key West was also inclined to settle rather than bear the expense of paying additional legal fees and bringing in their witnesses from a long distance away. Settlement and judgement amounts always depend on a number of different factors, but usually an incident that results in large medical expenses or clear cut cases of police brutality will be favorable to someone trying to sue an officer and their department.
The best way to determine whether an injury sustained at the hands of the police will result in this kind of large settlement is to speak with an experienced local lawyer.
How to Get Help after being Injured
For those who have been injured while in Key West or in any other part of Monroe County, Florida, the only option is to speak with a lawyer who practices in the area. They can give more specific information about how to proceed with your particular case, and what to expect from the Monroe County courts.