In Florida, making a false report to law enforcement authorities about the alleged commission of a crime is a serious offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. In particular, accusing a law enforcement officer of sexual battery is considered a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000. This was the charge filed against a West Palm Beach woman who had been convicted of shoplifting earlier this year.
The woman was recently charged after she accused a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy of raping her after her arrest for shoplifting at a Target store in Greenacres in January 2018. According the police report, the woman was given a notice to appear in court and escorted out of the store by two sheriff’s deputies. Store surveillance camera video apparently shows the woman slapped one of the deputies in the mouth as they walked her out.
She was then wrestled to the floor, handcuffed and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail where she was booked and charged with resisting arrest with violence, battery on an officer and trespass. This is where the story takes an odd twist. The woman claims that enroute to the jail, the deputy stopped at a sheriff’s office substation before driving to a wooded area in West Suburban Palm Beach.
She claimed the deputy then ordered her out of the car and raped her. However the dash-cam video in the patrol car showed her being taken away shortly after 4:15 p.m. with the female deputy driving. The patrol car arrived at the jail 17 minutes later at which time she accused the males deputy of rape. She was taken to a hospital emergency room, but she refused to cooperate, although evidence was eventually collected.
After an internal-affairs investigation, the sheriff’s office found that a preponderance of evidence did not support the allegation which led to a charge of one count of accusing a law enforcement officer of sexual battery. This comes on the heels of her conviction for the original shoplifting charge and the additional charges.
Whether the woman will be convicted remains to be seen. In any event, this case highlights the reasons why it is crucial for anyone who has been accused of a crime to have proper legal representation. If you have been charged with making a false report to law enforcement authorities about the alleged commission of a crime, contact the experienced attorneys at Herman Law, P.A. today.