Readers in Fort Lauderdale know that police officers in Florida and throughout the country must abide by certain laws specifically related to how an arrest should be conducted. Unfortunately, however, too often police officers fail to respect the rights of citizens, resulting in a botched or otherwise unwarranted arrest.

Recently, the city of Daytona Beach agreed to pay a 22-year-old student from Fort Lauderdale $15,000 after police officers falsely arrested the young man on a weapons charge. The police officers, who the Daytona police chief said “screwed up,” arrested the 22-year-old for not having a concealed weapons license for a handgun that was in the young man’s car. But the student did have the appropriate license in his wallet, and the police report even noted as much.

The police officers were called to a Red Lobster parking lot to investigate a suspicious vehicle, presumably the young man’s. However, he and a friend were only waiting for another friend who was still at work inside the Red Lobster.

The officers searched the student’s vehicle, discovered the weapon and the license for it, and arrested the young man anyway.

Referring to the arresting officers, the Daytona police chief said, “I don’t know what they were thinking. There’s no excuse for what they did.”

The young man, who had no felony convictions that would have prevented him from possessing a handgun, spent seven hours in jail before he was able to post bail. His car was towed, and his handgun was seized.

The attorney for the young man (not affiliated with this firm) submitted a notice of claim for unlawful detention, false arrest, negligence, civil rights violation, illegal seizure, negligent training and hiring, assault, battery, damage to reputation and infliction of emotional distress.

In exchange for the release of all claims made in the arrest, the student and his attorney agreed to accept the $15,000.

Source: News-Journal, “Daytona agrees to pay man $15K for wrongful arrest,” Darrel T. Harris, Feb. 21, 2012

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