Man Sues Florida City Police Over His Arrest, Alleged Beating

Posted By The Miami Herald | 28-May-1989

A man who contends he was part of a love triangle with a neighbor and a jealous Florida City police officer has filed suit against three officers, the department and the chief, claiming he was beaten and illegally arrested. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District court May 19, alleges that for three or four weeks last spring, Lt. Scott Cote began to “follow, frighten, harass and badger” Steve Odom Jr., a Homestead construction contractor. The suit says Cote and Odom had “an amorous relationship with the same woman.”

The suit claims Cote, the department’s second-highest- ranking officer, enlisted the help of the other Florida City officers in harassing Odom. It says Police Chief John Folden knew of and condoned the conspiracy.

While on April 17, 1988 Odom sat down at a Florida City restaurant counter, the suit states, Cote came in and handcuffed Odom’s hands behind his back, arresting him without explanation. Odom says Cote dragged him out the door and put him in Seago’s squad car. The suit says that Cote pulled him out of the car, tripped him and threw him against the bumper at the Florida City Police Department. It charges Cote, Seago and Mees beat and kicked him while he lay on the ground, picked him up, knocked him down again and slammed him into the door. Odom says in the suit that he was carried inside the police stating, thrown against some desks, and locked in a jail cell for two hours with “blood dripping down over his face and covering his clothes” before paramedics were called. Three-and-a-half hours after his arrest, the suit says, Odom was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he received 17 stitches over his eye.

On June 17, 1988, a Dade circuit judge dismissed charges of fleeing from an officer and making an improper U-turn lodged against Odom by the Florida City officers. Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Carney on July 7 dismissed charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence.

Odom, contacted at his home Friday refused to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $ 2 million in punitive damages.
“Remember the Dukes of Hazzard on TV? That’s what it’s like down there,” said Stephen Malove, Odom’s attorney. “It is a very frightening experience even for a lawyer to be involved in a case like this, knowing some of the things these police officers do.”
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