MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The city of South Miami has settled with a man who was taken away in handcuffs during his daughter’s 15th party.
The city recently agreed to pay $90,000 to Julio Sanchez.
The case stems from a quince party in December 2009 in which South Miami police responded to a noise complaint. They returned a short time later. Sanchez was arrested, but later let go.
“The police ruined my daughter’s party and robbed my family of the special memories that a quince party creates,” Sanchez said in a released form his lawyer. “I fought to protect our rights to make sure that no other family is treated the way the city treated mine.”
The lawsuit was first filed in state court in February 2011 and moved to federal court in November 2012. Sanchez sued the city for battery, false arrest and civil-rights violations.
The city agreed to settle the case after a federal judge ruled that a portion of the noise ordinance was unconstitutionally vague.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga struck down the part of the city’s noise ordinance that made a noise illegal if it would “annoy” anyone on a nearby street, sidewalk or adjacent building.
Altonaga wrote that “the noise ordinance is clearly unconstitutional, and tellingly the city does not provide any argument addressing Mr. Sanchez’s contentions and analysis contained in the motion concerning the noise ordinance’s unconstitutionality.”
During the birthday party in 2009, South Miami police received a noise complaint, according to the lawsuit.
An officer was sent to the scene and asked Sanchez to turn down the music.
Attorney Ray Taseff said Sanchez complied but police received another complaint a short time later. An officer told Sanchez the party must end. Sanchez eventually turned off the music. Taseff said his client asked the officer if the party could continue inside. When Sanchez asked for the officer’s name and badge number, he was arrested.
South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard attempted to add more specific language to the noise ordinance, but city leaders rejected the proposed changes. The mayor said he the city will look at the entire ordinance and do a “complete overhaul.”
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