(CN) – A former NFL player claims in court that he was wrongly arrested and accused of solicitation by Broward County sheriff’s deputies who conspired to make false charges against him.
In a federal complaint filed in Miami on Friday, plaintiff Travis Minor says that on August 29, 2014, he was stoped at a cyber cafe in Dania Beach, Florida, when he was swept up in an undercover operation to target “street level prostitution.”
Minor, a former running back, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 2001 NFL draft, and later played for the St. Louis Rams.
According to the complaint, Minor had lawfully purchased a new firearm just hours before his arrest, and he had been quietly sitting in te cyber cafe when he was approached by undercover Deputy Taryn Martin who asked him “if he had any money.”
Minor, who is represented by Jack Morgan III of the Aloia Roland Lubell & Morgan law firm in Fort Myers, Fla., claims that he answered “yes,” and the undercover deputy walked away.
“Mr. Minor had not spoken to Deputy Martin, waved to her, nodded to her, or in any way attempted to communicate with her,” the complaint says.
But Minor says when hegot into his vehicle to leave he was surrounded and blocked by Broward County’s Crime Suppression Team.
He was then arrested by Deputy Martin for solicitation of prostitution; and he was taken to jail where he spent an entire night in a jail cell.
The complaint says that the Cyber Pizza Café where Minor was arrested was equipped with outdoor security cameras, but that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office never tried to obtain video or audio footage of the event to obtain evidence.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has a history of irregularities in their policies, and it has been discovered that many of its officers had “cut and paste” probable cause affidavits, the complaint says.
Minor, who played college football at Florida State, says that he was a victim of this practice.
According to Minor, the detective who executed the probable cause affidavit in his case relied on “cut and paste” information from other persons who had been arrested.
Minor says the affidavit contained false statements and listed incorrect arrest date. Specifically, he says, it alleged he offered Deputy Martin money in exchange for oral sex when he had not, and that he had approached Martin outside of the cyber café when she had previously admitted that she was the one that looked for him.
“It was discovered that the affidavit … in this matter was a compilation of other reports from January 17, 2014, and March 28, 2014, cut and pasted together and then sworn to by [a Broward detective],” the complaint says.
The complaint alleges deputies confiscated Minor’s firearm at the scene, and that they did not return it until more than a year after the arrest.
Minor asserts that prior to his arrest he was a well-known and respect former professional athlete, but due to extensive media coverage of his arrest, his reputation has been “disgraced and muddied.”
The State Attorney dismissed all charges against Minor due to insufficient evidence on February 2, 2017.
He is seeking compensatory damages on claims of malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department declined to comment on pending litigation.