Demand Apology, Compensation For Wrong Arrests
MIAMI (AP) _ A fast-food restaurant cashier and a man who chased her robber are demanding an apology and compensation for their arrests, an attorney said Tuesday.
″We would hope we could settle this case without a lawsuit,″ Barbara Katzen said after a conference with clients Elizabeth Perry and Andrew Lane.
If it is not settled within 10 days, Ms. Katzen said, a suit charging false arrest and violation of civil rights will be filed.
Subsequent investigation revealed a man with long braided hair held up Ms. Perry at gunpoint and two men gave chase. But confusion at the robbery scene turned the tables on them.
Ms. Perry, 35, who supports a family of six, lost her job as a cashier at the Church’s Fried Chicken outlet in suburban Opa-Locka after the May 3 robbery. Lane, 25, and Ms. Perry’s boyfriend, Jay Miller, 39, chased the gunman but were arrested along with Ms. Perry on armed-robbery charges.
After their arrests, neither Lane nor Miller could post $10,000 bond, and they languished in jail for 17 days until prosecutors relented and freed them.
Miller has retained his own counsel in the matter.
″In essence, the police arrested the holdup victim and the two Good Samaritan heroes who tried to chase the guy with the gun because the police didn’t get there fast enough. They took a chance on getting shot themselves,″ Ms. Katzen said.
″When they all got back to Church’s, nobody listened to them. The police didn’t give them a chance to explain that they were the victims and not the robbers,″ she said.
The three were arrested by police on the word of one witness who gave officers a non-existent address. Church’s manager Tina Warfield protested that the witness was mistaken, but she said she was told to be quiet.
″We’re demanding an apology and of course fair compensation for what our clients have been put through,″ Ms. Katzen said. ″Of course, no amount of compensation could ever put my clients back in the positions they were in before this happened.″
Ms. Perry told Ms. Katzen the incident was ″like a deep, searing scar. They stripped her when they put her in jail.″
″She was terrified. She was humiliated. Her children have been humiliated, and she feels that she’ll never be the same again,″ Ms. Katzen said.
For Lane, his extended jail stay came as a shock.
″He seems very shy. He’s a young man who feels relieved that he isn’t in jail,″ Ms. Katzen said. ″He felt in his heart that because of his innocence that they would see the light and that someone would just come along and let him out.″
Opa-locka Mayor Robert Ingram learned of the case Monday, asked for a report from the city manager and promised any violation of city policies would be pursued.