Rights Attorney To File Claim In Forced-Sex Case
EUSTIS, Fla. (AP) _ An attorney said Friday that three white police officers violated the civil rights of a black man and teen-age girl by forcing them to have sex while the officers watched.
Harry Lamb Jr., acting for the girl, who was then 15 and now is 19, said he planned to notify the city of Eustis of his client’s intention to claim damages. Florida law requires such notice to give the city a chance to settle out of court, the last step before being sued.
Eustis is in central Florida, near Orlando.
″We would be seeking something for the civil-rights violations themselves, punitive damages, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and any other damages she may have suffered,″ Lamb said.
Attorney Maggie Evans, whose law firm is the city’s legal counsel, said no notice had been received and she couldn’t comment on the case.
In an interview in the Orlando Sentinel Friday, the girl said the incident occurred in July 1980.
She said a Eustis policeman confronted her and a 30-year-old man as they were having sex under a picnic shelter at a city park. The couple ran into a bathroom to dress. When they came out, Sgt. Floyd Cash was on the scene with other officers, she said.
The man in the affair has since moved to Mississippi and is not a party to the case.
″Cash asked us what we were doing,″ the girl told the newspaper. ″And then he told us he would take us downtown if we didn’t do what he told us to do.″
They protested, she said, but Cash told them to resume.
″After we got down to do it, we went to yelling about we weren’t going to do it, and he said we were going to do it or he was going to take us in,″ she said. ″And then we did it. And he stood up there and watched. And after he watched, he left.″
Police department records show that Cash was the supervising officer on duty that night and that patrolmen Gary Brannen and Ron Hicks were the other officers involved.
The two patrolmen told police officials of the incident a month later. The Sentinel reported that all three officers received written reprimands.
Cash is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Bureau of Police Standards, the newspaper said.
He has since left the police and efforts to reach him for comment on his alleged participation in the affair were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Vicki Wade, assistant chief of the Eustis police department, said, ″We cannot comment on the case. It is under investigation.″
Lamb said he was contacted by members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who were told of the case by the girl’s sister. A lawsuit seeking millions was discussed.
″This is one they won’t forget for a long time,″ T.H. Poole, president of the NAACP’s Florida chapter, told the Sentinel. ″This one is going to cause some changes.″