Opa-locka & Two Officers Face A “Jane Doe” Lawsuit
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South Florida Crime
OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami) – An Opa-locka mother said her 13 year old son was raped and she put part of the blame on two of the city’s police officers.
The mom, who did not want her identity revealed, filed a lawsuit against the city of Opa-locka and the two officers, seeking as much as $5 million in damage.
With tears streaming down her face, she recalled September 11th 2010. That was the day she went to get a restraining order against her live-in boyfriend Victor Howard.
“He had threatened us, that he was gonna hurt me and my kids,” she said.
A judge granted her a temporary injunction for protection. When she called police to serve Howard the papers, she said they failed to follow the order.
“To me this is an example of an abuse of power. This woman went to the police for help because she felt that she was in danger and her kids were in danger from this man,” said Jeff Herman, her lawyer. “Instead of serving the restraining order and removing this violent man, they made my client leave the home to allow this man 24 hours to clear out his personal things.”
Herman said the cops ignored the order that specifically stated that Howard had to leave and that gave the mother possession of the home. The order also said that Howard was to have no contact with the children.
The mom said police threatened to arrest her if she didn’t leave without her disabled son.
“I’m so heart broken and I’m just so torn,” she sobbed. “I’m just so confused. I mean I tried so hard to get him. But they wouldn’t let me. They wouldn’t let me. I mean I begged them.”
When the mother returned, she said Howard had sexually assaulted and abused her son. Howard was arrested for sexual battery on a child and the mother, “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit against the officers.
The State Attorney’s Office investigated and determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute the officers, but the judge who initially signed the restraining order wanted to know what happened and whether the officers violated the court order.
He called the officers into court Thursday and they refused to explain themselves. The judge found probable cause and arraigned the officers on charges.
John Rivera of the Police Benevolent Association issued a statement saying, “The officers did not violate the court’s civil order. This is a pending contempt case on a civil matter. It needs to be clear that criminal charges were not filed by the State Attorney’s Office, after their criminal investigation.”
Assistant Opa-locka Police Chief Antonio Sanchez said, “These are good officers who may have made a mistake and that is what the court will decide.”
Sanchez said neither officer involved had been in trouble before and the police department will conduct an internal investigation once the court proceedings are resolved.
He also said that his department is getting additional training in handling domestic violence cases.
“Training is always good and we will continue to provide more training,” he said.
Both officers are on paid administrative leave.