Sunday, January 29, 2023

Man falsely featured on 'Wheel of Fugitive' sues Sheriff Ivey for defamation. (Florida Today)

Some 60 times, Broward County Sheriff WAYNE IVEY used his TV studio to commit defamation: falsely stating that some people were "fugitives" when they were not fugitives. 

 Feculent Flori-DUH Sheriffs need to be watched. 

I reject the false narratives that "cops [don't] need to be watched, in the words of disgraced former St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" in 1994.

From Florida Today: 

Man falsely featured on 'Wheel of Fugitive' sues Sheriff Ivey for defamation

Eric Rogers
Florida Today

A man falsely included in several episodes of Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey's popular "Wheel of Fugitive" social media 'gameshow' is suing the sheriff and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for defamation, saying the experience cost him a job and impacted his mental health.

David Austin Gay was not a fugitive when his picture appeared in four episodes of the show between January and February 2021. Instead, he was either sitting in jail after turning himself in on a probation violation or, in one case, already legally released.

A 2021 investigation by FLORIDA TODAY found Gay was one of 60 'fugitives' the sheriff had featured on the wheel across 45 episodes between February 2020 and February 2021 who were either in jail at the time the episode aired, already free or had no active arrest warrant.

A closer look at 'Wheel of Fugitive':Sheriff Ivey's signature Facebook 'show' features non-fugitives

A look back:How Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey's 'Wheel of Fugitive' got its start

Sheriff's tactics:Overreach? Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey tries to influence public policy beyond policing

In a court filing in Brevard Wednesday, an attorney for Gay argued he was fired from a new job after his boss saw an episode of the show featuring Gay's picture.

"As he drove to his first day of work, his new employer informed him by phone to not bother showing up as he had seen Mr. GAY in IVEY and/or BCSO's 'Wheel of Fugitive' videos," Brevard attorney Jessica Travis wrote in the complaint.

"As he drove to his first day of work, his new employer informed him by phone to not bother showing up as he had seen Mr. GAY in IVEY and/or BCSO's 'Wheel of Fugitive' videos," Brevard attorney Jessica Travis wrote in the complaint.

2017: Sheriff Wayne Ivey demonstrates the 'Wheel of Fugitive' board

Travis argued in the filing the incident also harmed Gay's mental health, causing depression and anxiety, and did damage to his reputation "that has caused him to be regarded with scorn, contempt, ridicule and disrespect which will continue in the foreseeable future," according to the complaint.

Gay is seeking unspecified damages in the case, including for loss of income and for pain and suffering.

“The lawsuit was filed because right is right and wrong is wrong,” Travis said in a statement Friday morning. "No one has the right to cause compliant citizens to lose their jobs or live in fear of confrontation or arrest; not even the Sheriff.”

A spokesman for Ivey did not immediately return a request for comment.

Gay spoke to reporters back in 2021 for the original FLORIDA TODAY investigation, calling the experience "humiliating."

"Something needs to be done about it," Gay said at the time. "(The sheriff) should probably fact-check everything before he goes showing the whole world talking, telling everybody people's fugitives when they're not."

On three of the dates when episodes featuring Gay's picture aired, Gay was in custody after voluntarily turning himself in for violating probation on a prior felony battery charge from 2018. Adjudication was withheld in the case. A separate charge of misdemeanor domestic violence that led to the violation in December 2020 was dismissed.

Ivey's "Wheel of Fugitive" has been lauded by supporters as a creative and entertaining way to engage the community. It's also had its share of critics, who have argued the show's format is dehumanizing, a waste of taxpayer funds and a distraction from genuine law enforcement efforts.

The show brought Ivey national attention, drawing headlines across the country and ridicule from late night talk show hosts including the Daily Show's Trevor Noah, who lampooned the show in a December 2016 episode of the Comedy Central program.

Eric Rogers is a watchdog reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Rogers at 321-242-3717 or Follow him on Twitter: @EricRogersFT.


Anonymous said...

In more advanced democratic societies, they don't post people's names and faces all over television and the internet when they commit a crime or especially when they are suspects or have been arrested. This is a form of extra judicial punishment justified by flawed reasoning and lack of respect for human beings. An arrested person is supposed to be disgraced and devalued as a human being if they commit a wrong against all holy society. In the court of public opinion, one is supposed to be judged guilty upon accusation. This is the message being sent when it's legal to publish details of contact with law enforcement. The individual may or may not be guilty, but they are to be treated with caution. To the right wing, that's all fine and dandy until it's one of them or their own kids. The social credit system cuts both ways.

Anonymous said...

Now the man is being sued and has defamed himself over his own childish games... which were no doubt meant to place himself as the ring leader of some bad circus act with what he views as human animals. Using people's troubles to entertain himself and other people. Real class act. If anyone is an animal, it's Sheriff Ivey, product of bad education in Florida. God save us all from these crackers.