Moms wet t-shirts gets her arrested at splash pad
8/9/2010 1:00:00 AM
A Lake County mother was arrested at a children’s splash park after her white shirt got wet. Now, she's suing the city of Tavares over her arrest. She told WFTV police took an embarrassing situation and turned it into discrimination.
A hot day in April at the Tavares splash park turned into Janet Lovett's own personal nightmare. She took her 7-year-old son to cool off, but before the day was done she found herself behind bars, facing an arrest record for obstruction of justice and resisting arrest without violence.
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“I started shaking. I feel nervous. My son was inside park with husband. I was alone,” she told WFTV. A park employee asked Lovett to leave, because the white t-shirt she was wearing had become wet and her padded bra was showing. She says she left, but outside the park gate a police officer approached her and asked her for ID and her name.
“Very scared,” she said. “I've never been arrested before." The police report indicates Lovett didn't give her name fast enough. The mom says she was scared and wanted to know why she was getting arrested.
Lovett’s attorney, Howard Marks, is demanding those same answers from the city. He says the police had no legal right to ask Lovett for ID, because no crime had been committed.
‘If they were wearing a bra, it's not illegal in the state of Florida. It's not indecent exposure. It's not a crime,” Marks said (watch full interview).
Marks intends to sue the city for violation of civil rights, false arrest and malicious prosecution. He thinks there was more to her arrest that day than the outfit that was deemed inappropriate.
“Either the police were so lacking in training and so incompetent to the law or trying to ID someone who was a potential illegal alien,” Marks said.
Lovett is a U.S. citizen. The charges against her have since been dropped, but she still spent five hours in jail and paid a $1,500 fine.
The city of Tavares said it does not comment on pending litigation. The police chief told WFTV his officers operated within policy that day.