Givens Givens Sparks' attorney, Christopher Codling, successfully argued before a Pasco County judge today that his client’s criminal charge should be dropped because of a lack of probable cause. The judge agreed and dismissed the case which was set for a jury trial.
Pedro Perez, a Spanish minority who was charged by the New Port Richey Police Department for resisting arrest without violence, was a 28-year-old passenger in the front seat of his friend’s car when police initiated a traffic stop in October of 2016. The arresting officer had observed Perez and two friends, both minorities, exiting a local convenience store and pursued the group. During the traffic stop, the driver and a second passenger fled on foot, while Perez remained by the car and was detained by two additional officers. During his detention, Perez was slammed to the ground and struck, ultimately breaking his jaw and resulting in Perez requiring two plates and six screws to repair the facial damage, as well as multiple tooth loss. Perez was arrested for resisting arrest without violence and was being prosecuted by the Pasco County State Attorney’s Office.
“The police involved in this incident unlawfully used excessive force to subdue a citizen who, according to their own incident report, was not acting violently nor breaking any laws,” said Christopher Codling, a personal injury attorney for Givens Givens Sparks. “Their blatant disregard for his well-being during a non-threatening situation was a deplorable abuse of their authority.”
Prior to the case dismissal, the Pasco County State Attorney’s Office was seeking a jail sentence for Perez. During the hearing on ‘Motion to Dismiss’, Codling successfully argued that because Perez was only a passenger, not the driver, in the vehicle involved in the incident and because Perez cooperated with the officers by not fleeing the scene, there was no suspicion of criminal activity and thus no probable cause for his arrest. Codling and Givens Givens Sparks’ managing partner, Robert Sparks, intend to pursue civil rights violations against the New Port Richey Police Department on behalf of their client who they say suffered at the hands of the officers who exceeded the appropriate use of force when they brutally shattered his jaw.
Givens Givens Sparks is a trial law firm representing individuals and their families in state and federal cases ranging from complex high net-worth divorce cases and personal injury/wrongful death actions, to commercial insurance litigation. With more than 135 years of combined professional experience, the Givens Givens Sparks team of lawyers is dedicated to the advocacy and protection of their clients and their families. Contact our attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks By giving us a call at (813) 336-3348 or by filling out our online form.