Illegal Search for Drugs, Latest Testimony in Tallahassee Federal Trial

A Delray Beach family claims Jefferson County deputies violated their rights more than five years ago and is now suing them for $10 million.

As Arnetta McCloud finished up her testimony she talked about the roadside search by Jefferson County deputies that eventually led to her sister's Monticello, Florida home. Here she says deputies searched the home for drugs and only in the end did they give her sister a form to sign that would make the search legal.

McCloud says her sister was told by a deputy to, quote, "Sign it here or you can sign it in jail."

Later, defendant Gerald Knecht, the deputy who originally stopped the McCloud family, took the stand. He claims deputies did not enter the house until the consent form was signed, though his claims differ from testimony given months earlier.

When the McCloud family attorney pointed this out, he says at the time he didn't understand the question. Finally, Chesley King, a physically ill relative staying at the Monticello home at the time of the search, took the stand.

Visibly upset, he described to the jury as deputies pulled him out of bed despite his wishes, his genitals exposed as he was moved to another part of the house along with other family members.

He also testified that a consent form was given to sign only after the search. However, the defense then brings into question his sight at the time and memory.

King doesn't understand the questions. His testimony then ends, as does day two of the trial. Deputies never did find drugs at the home or during the initial roadside stop.

The McCloud family attorney says he hopes to call his last witness by Thursday afternoon.


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