- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A federal jury ruled Wednesday that a Polk County Sheriff’s Office detective didn’t violate a Lakeland girl’s civil rights when he arrested her for aggravated stalking in 2013.

The Lakeland Ledger reports (https://bit.ly/2qFLhMx ) the jury issued the verdict U.S. District Court in Tampa.

Jurors deliberated nearly six hours before agreeing that Detective Jonathan McKinney was given consent to enter Katelyn Roman’s home when he arrested her.

Katelyn, then 12, was one of two girls arrested in connection with the suicide of Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped from an abandoned cement silo in Lakeland in September 2013.

Sheriff Grady Judd gave extensive media interviews about the case, citing it as an example of a national trend of cyberbullying. He accused the girls, Sedwick’s friends and former classmates at school, of pushing her to suicide.

Prosecutors ultimately elected not to pursue criminal charges against Katelyn or Guadalupe Shaw, then 14.

Katelyn’s mother, Roseann Michelle Gill, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa nearly two years after Sedwick’s death, accusing the Sheriff’s Office of false arrest, malicious prosecution, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of her civil rights.

The girl’s father, Emilio Roman, said in court documents he didn’t give his consent to let the deputies enter when he opened the door. The deputies, including McKinney, said they didn’t force their way in by drawing their weapons or making demands, but that the father stepped aside to allow them to enter.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven tossed out most of the allegations in March 2016, citing a lack of evidence. The only element that went before a jury this week was whether McKinney had consent to enter the Romans’ home when he took Katelyn into custody.


Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), https://www.theledger.com

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