MIAMI (CN) - A Miami-Dade County couple was roughed up and arrested in front of their son's preschool, after officers angrily mistook them for someone else, a lawsuit claims.
In their county circuit court complaint, Lourdes Alvarez-Mena and her husband, Darren Todd Mena, say there was nothing unusual about the scene outside the Pre-Tech Academy in Miami on the afternoon of August 20, 2012.
A line of cars sat idling outside the school, and after Darren Mena pulled into the first available slot, his wife went inside to retrieve their three year old son.
At this point, the couple says, the defendant detectives, Miguel Garcia and Evelyn Gaus, decided to park their care in a location obstructing the parent pick-up line "for the sole purpose of socializing with an individual unrelated to any school function."
The care the detectives were sitting in was unmarked, and neither was wearing a uniform.
"Apparently someone in line, not Darren Todd Mena and Lourdes Alvarez-Mena, honked their horn in a single appropriate manner to alert Detectives Guas and Garcia, of the obstruction and the delay they were causing," the couple says.
When the detectives failed to move out the way of parents attempting to leave the front of the school, Mena says he pulled out of the pick-up line and into a contiguous handicap-designated parking space.
"Detective Garcia then exited his vehicle and approached Plaintiff Darren Todd Mena's vehicle in a profane and aggressive manner," the plaintiffs say.
They say Garcia demanded that Mena produce his license, registration and handicap certificate, and after he did, Garcia then proceeded to forcible pull Mena out of the car.
"Please imploring Detective Garcia to explain his behavior were met with the statement, 'I don't give a f---, I'm going to arrest you,'" the couple says.
Garcia is alleged to have thrown Mena to the ground, cuffed him and placed him under arrest.
In was precisely at this moment that Lourdes Alvarez-Mena says she existed the school with their son.
According to Alvarez-Mena, she rushed to scene and asked what was going on. She says Detective Gaus responded by telling her to "shut the f--- up" and by pushing her against the car.
The couple says the next thing they knew, Alvarez-Mena was being thrown to the ground and cuffed next to her husband.
The couple says they were arrested without cause, and that the criminal charges filed against them by the detectives were thrown out.
The Menas say they've suffered greatly as a result of being "brought into public scandal with great humiliation" and that they've experience mental anguish as a result of the damage done their reputations.
They seek unspecified compensatory damages and court costs on claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, battery, and loss of consortium.
The couple is represented by Robert Rossana and Michael Seth Cohen of Coral Gables, Fla.
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