South Florida Family Suing Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Members of a South Florida family claim deputies terrorized them as they traveled through the county. But deputies say they had good reason to believe the family was transporting cocaine.

Members of the McCloud family appeared with their attorney in Palm Beach County Wednesday morning to announce their lawsuit. The family is seeking $10 million. It's the result of an incident in July of 2001.

Family members say a trip to North Florida turned ugly as deputies in Jefferson County pulled the family over, shouted racial slurs, and conducted what they said was an unnecessary search on the family's 15-year-old daughter.

"I mean you strip my child on the side of the road, in plan view of other officers. I don't care what county you're from, this is just not right."

Guy Rubin, an attorney for Freddy McCloud, says, "We have an honest law abiding family. We have a justice system and we'll let justice take its course. We know how to handle these kinds of cases, and the truth will out itself."

Jefferson County Sheriff Ken Fortune says deputies had reason to believe Freddy McCloud was on his way to make a drug sale.

"He was supposed to have quite a bit of cocaine that he was dealing in the North Florida area. Now whether that's true or not...that's another story. But that's the information you receive and you go with it."

Fortune said he doesn't remember exactly what happened that night three years ago, but claims McCloud previously made a cocaine sale to an undercover informant.

"I've got lawyers, they've got lawyers. If it goes through the court, we'll find out whether we were right or wrong."

Fortune says it's a case of he said, he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office records show McCloud was arrested in January of 2002 on charges of sale of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to sell. McCloud's attorney says those charges were later dropped by the State Attorney's Office.


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