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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
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Cop Says Conspiracy Ruined His Career

MIAMI (CN) - A Golden Beach, Fla., police officer claims in court that he was wrongfully arrested and prosecuted on charges dreamed up by a former colleague intent on revenge for her own termination.

In a lawsuit filed in the Miami-Dade County circuit court, plaintiff Lyndean Peters, says his work record was spotless before his path crossed with that of Tammy Valdes, who was hired by the Golden Beach Police Department in 2008.

Valdes had a history of wrongfully accusing co-workers of illegal conduct, and even of bringing whistleblower lawsuits against prior employers and several police department in Miami, the complaint claims.

Peters says Valdes used these whistleblower lawsuits to secure monetary settlements from her prior employers.

But as portrayed in the complaint, Valdes was far from the model employee herself. According to Peters, this became evidence after she was assigned to a Secret Service detail investigating a large fraud case.

During this assignment, Peters says, "Valdes repeatedly failed to show up for work, yet submitted time records to Golden Beach as if she had been working. Valdes through this process was able to receive pay from the Golden Beach Police Department for days she in fact did not work.

"When this issue came to light, the Golden Beach Police Department attempted to investigate the matter, but was thwarted by Valdes's fellow Secret Service agents who refused to cooperate or implicate Valdes," he says.

Peters claims Valdes was ultimately removed from her Secret Service assignment, "apparently for the absentee issue," and returned from patrol. However, he says, by now she realized that her absenteeism would prevent her from successfully completing her probationary period as a new officer,

He says she "began making statements to various other police officers at Golden Beach, including but not limited to Plaintiff, to the effect that if the Golden Beach Police Department continued to interfere with or terminate her employment, she would be sure to 'bring down' others within the Department."

In November 2009, she was terminated for "failing to satisfy her probationary conditions," the complaint says.

Peters says that in retaliation for her discharge, Valdes conspired a with her husband and several disgruntled Golden Beach police officers to lodge false complaints against the department and to accuse certain officers, including himself, of improper and illegal conduct.

In his case these accusations included that he avoided an administrative fee to Golden Beach; that he incorrectly reported work hours so he could get paid by Golden Beach and his off-duty employers at the same time; and that he filed a fraudulent insurance claim for injuries suffered by his police dog at a car accident.

Peters claims Valdes brought these accusations to defendant John Loyal, an officer with the Miami-Dade County Public Corruption Investigations Bureau, with whom she had a prior relationship. In early 2010 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Miami Dade County and Golden Beach started an investigation conducted by defendants Claudia Mulvey, Robert Breeden, and John Loyal under the supervision of Kelly Sullivan.

Peters says during this investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Miami-Dade County both negligently provided investigators with incorrect and incomplete information that allowed the co-conspirators to manipulate the facts and pursue a criminal claim against him.

According to the complaint, the defendants "prepared and presented to a Miami Dade County Circuit Court Judge a false, incomplete, and misleading probable cause affidavit to secure and arrest warrant for the ... plaintiff."

Peters says as a result of these actions, he was prosecuted by the Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office for over three years, even though no valid evidence to incriminate him.

He says that on April 25, 2011, he was required to attend a predisposition hearing before Gold Beach Mayor Glenn Singer and Brett Schneider, an outside legal counsel. At the hearing, he say, they used the fraudulent affidavit that led to his arrest to try to force him to confess to all of his alleged misdeeds.

Ultimately, he says, a court concluded there was no evidence to prove any criminal conduct, and on March 20, 2014, all criminal charges against him were dropped.

Peters claims the defendants, under the color of state law, violated his rights under the 4th and 14th Amendments.

He seeks unspecified compensatory damages on claims of false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, supervisory liability, civil conspiracy, negligence and unlawful interrogation.

Peters is represented by Roderick Hannah, of Plantation, Fla., and Pelayo Duran of Miami.

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