Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Florida Woman Fumbled Suit Over Public Poo

ORLANDO (CN) - A Florida woman who says the police officers searching her home for methamphetamine forced her to poop on her yard in front of them must amend her civil rights claims, a federal judge ruled.

Dawn Brooks sued Volusia County and the city of New Smyrna Beach for allegedly making her defecate in her front yard during a search of her house for meth.

A March 14 ruling on her case does not reveal what the search produced.

It says Brooks had allegedly been brought outside her home and handcuffed when officers refused her requests to defecate in a private place.

They "told her to 'just use the restroom right there' in the front yard, which plaintiff did," U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton Jr. wrote, summarizing the allegations.

Brooks claimed that the officers then would not help her cleanse and dress herself after she defecated in front of them.

Eventually they allegedly made her undress and change into a plastic jumpsuit. Instead of helping, the officers looked, laughed and yelled at Brooks while she was undressing, the complaint states.

Brooks said she should have been allowed to use the restroom in her house or in the officers' truck, and that the ordeal violated her rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, causing her mental anguish and humiliation.

She also claimed the city failed to properly train their officers.

U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton dismissed the claims against Volusia last week, finding no allegation that deliberate indifference was responsible for the city's alleged failure to train.

Likewise Brooks did not show that the need for training was "plainly obvious" based on prior instances, the court found.

Dalton also said Brooks did not state any specific practice or policy that caused the officers to infringe her rights.

Brooks has until April 4 to amend her complaint.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.