I filed a civil lawsuit in Pinellas County this week on behalf of my client Carleen Tetreault against the St. Petersburg Police Department for an incident that occurred at her home on June 8, 2015.
On the day in question, Carleen had returned to her home in St. Petersburg after a cancer treatment. That afternoon, St. Petersburg Police detectives knocked on her door. Her teenage daughter answered. The detectives asked Carleen to step outside. She refused and asked to see a warrant. At that point, the police detectives forced their way into the home, slammed Carleen to the ground, flipped her onto her stomach, handcuffed her and snatched her off the ground by one arm causing injuries.
While the detectives didn’t bother to verify her identity, Carleen told them her name, her date of birth, and her social security number. She was placed in the back of a police cruiser. She told the officers that she had undergone cancer treatment that morning and was not supposed to be in the heat. Carleen was left in the back of the hot police car for a long period of time after that.
She was then transported to the police station and questioned. Once the police realized they had the wrong person in custody, a detective brought her home, offering to buy her pizza, I guess as an apology for the mistaken arrest.
Carleen is a cancer patient who was undergoing brutal treatment. She tried to explain this to the detectives but they wouldn’t listen. They didn’t read her the legally obligatory Miranda rights or give her a chance to prove her identity. They acted with brute force regardless of the circumstances-a defenseless woman suffering with cancer with a child in the house.
In the lawsuit I filed this week, I have alleged that Carleen’s civil rights were violated, the police used excessive force, they made a false arrest, they falsely imprisoned Carleen, the police were grossly negligent, and they assaulted and battered Carleen.
I’m a former cop. I respect the police and the tough job they have. But, I also know when they cross the line. Perhaps the training they receive leads to these types of incidents. We have another police case that may prove that point. Carleen Tetreault didn’t deserve the treatment she received last June. That is for certain. When cops act this way they has to be accountability.