An Ocala, Florida couple each received $15,000 in an outside settlement after a federal civil rights lawsuit was brought against the local sheriff’s department.
Jason and Stacy Pomales filed separate lawsuits in June with the Ocala division of the U.S. District Court, claiming their civil rights were violated when they were arrested outside of a house party.
The incident was captured on video, which can be viewed below.
The couple was detained June 5, after Cpl. Lisa Azure and deputies Jarret Leedy and Thomas Newbanks responded to a complaint regarding a large house party.
According to the incident report, as police began their investigation and asked people to move their vehicles, Jason Pomales spoke out saying that partygoers did not have to move their cars or comply with the police. It was around this same time that Stacy Pomales began filming the exchange.
After ignoring the officers’ requests to step away from the scene, Jason Pomales was promptly arrested and taken into custody. The video of the incident has since gone viral as Stacey Pomales begins asking why her husband is being arrested after he was placed into the patrol car.
Officer Azure can be heard saying, “Who’s next? Who’s next? … This camera does not scare us. Who’s next to go to jail?”
Even as Pomales made it clear she was complying with the officers’ requests and did not want to disrupt the investigation, she was arrested almost without notice and charged, along with her husband for misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer without violence.
Christopher Dillingham, the couple’s attorney, said his clients were simply exercising their right to free speech.
“The State (Attorney’s Office) dropped the charges very early on because as they stated themselves, there was a very low probability of getting a jury verdict in the state’s favor,” Dillingham said. “I’d say that’s a victory on every single front for them, and they should be proud of standing up for their rights in this manner.”
According to Jerald, despite the outside settlement, documents states that both the Sheriff’s Office and the deputies “expressly denied” any liability or responsibility for the defendants’ claims. Representatives for both the officers and sheriff’s department declined to make any public statement addressing the matter.