David Gay says he lost his job and was devastated afterwards Florida the sheriff repeatedly accused him of being a fugitive in social media videos created to resemble the popular television game show Wheel of Fortune.
But Gay has not been hiding from the law at any of those times – he was either already in the local jail on a misdemeanor case, or had already been released from custody after a probationary period.
Gay is now suing for more than $50,000 in damages, accusing the sheriff of defaming him and causing him excessive depression and anxiety.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, whose office is relatively close to the Orlando area, included Gay’s name and image several times in 2021 in his agency’s social media posts, which included videos of him talking and spinning so-called “Kolas.” fugitive”.
The wheel contains photos and names of what Ivey considers to be Brevard’s 10 most wanted fugitives.
“All 10 people that are here have warrants for their arrest,” Ivey says in a Wheel of Fugitive video released by his office on Facebook January 24. “We want to get them off the street and into safe places behind bars where they can’t victimize anyone.”
After Ivy spins the wheel, he explains the charges against the man whose photo is in the close-up shot of the circular prop after it stops spinning. He urges the alleged winner to turn himself in to his office, even as the video explains in a disclaimer that scrolls across the bottom of the screen that “suspects may have since been arrested or their alleged charges otherwise resolved or dismissed.”
gays 34-page lawsuit – filed Jan. 25 in state court in Brevard County – alleges the plaintiff falls under the “otherwise resolved” category.
According to the lawsuit, Gay received three years of probation in November 2020 after the undisclosed crime. The case culminated in what’s known as a waiver of judgment, a special sentence in which the defendant is technically not convicted of any crime, the lawsuit explains.
Gay says he was then arrested in January 2021 on charges of domestic battery. Gay claims he was arrested after he believed his father got into a physical fight with his mother, and the case against him was eventually dropped.
However, the battery charge itself was a violation of the terms of Gay’s probation, so he was jailed. And he was also in the Ivey Detention Center all three times the sheriff went on camera and called him a fugitive, the lawsuit alleges.
When the sheriff put him in the Fugitive Circle for the fourth time, Gay was sentenced to probation on the same terms as before his arrest in January 2021, was released from custody, and was not wanted in any way.
It’s unlikely that Gay’s legal troubles would have attracted much attention if he hadn’t been included in the Fugitive Circle. One day his new employer watched at least one of the videos of what was called Gay driving to what was to be their first day of work together and told him he wouldn’t be working after all because he was on the Fugitive Wheel, according to the lawsuit.
Attempts to reach the Brevard Sheriff’s Office for comment on Gay’s lawsuit were not successful Tuesday.
Ivey told the Associated Press that Wheel of Fugitive is very popular. According to reports, he said that “even fugitives are watching” the video to see if they are the “fugitive of the week”. CBS News.
This was reported by the Associated Press