BRAD BUCK | Staff Writer
A woman who was arrested after her T-shirt got wet at a kiddie splash park in Tavares has won $25,000 in a lawsuit against the city, her lawyer said Thursday.
The settlement was reached in late May, said Howard Marks, the Winter Park attorney who represented Janet Lovett on a claim her civil rights were violated.
Lovett, 36, and her husband were at the Children's Splash Park in April 2010 when their 7-year-old autistic son splashed water and caused her padded bra to become visible beneath her white T-shirt.
Marks said his client left the child with her husband, put a towel over her shoulders and walked out of the city-owned park. She was planning to go home to get a bathing suit when she was approached in the parking lot by a Tavares police officer.
A woman at the park called police because she thought Lovett looked indecent, Marks said. When police arrived, they asked Lovett to change into a bathing suit.
They also asked for her identification, but she did not have it on her, so police arrested her on a charge of suspicion of obstructing justice and resisting arrest, Marks said.
The woman, a Peruvian native who was granted American citizenship 17 months ago, speaks English, albeit "not perfectly," Marks said. Lovett said she explained the situation to the officer and said her ID was in her car, but ended up getting placed into the back of a patrol vehicle.
Marks said Lovett was not given ample time to retrieve her ID.
"Legally, under the constitution of the state of Florida and the U.S., it is our position that Mrs. Lovett did not have to provide any identification information, but she never refused to do so," Marks said last year. "Obviously, (police) have a right to investigate crimes if there is a reason to believe somebody committed a crime, but there was no crime here."
Prosecutors in Lake County later dropped the charges against Lovett, according to court records.
Tavares officials could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
The story was picked up by newspapers across the state and also appeared on aolnews.com, msnbc.msn.com, foxnews.com and youtube.com.
"It was a horrible experience," Marks said Thursday. "She just wanted it over with. She wants to mind her own business."
In: Other News
Tags: copblock.org, cop block, police misconduct, FL, BRAD BUCK, dailycommercial.com
Location: Tavares, Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
Views: 10788 | Comments: 42 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 5 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
|Liveleak on Facebook|