[This story has been updated to include a comment from the City of Miami Beach.]
An out of court settlement has been reached in the case of a Miami Beach woman who said she was falsely arrested and humiliated when her bathrobe fell off and she was forced to sit nude in her apartment while as many as eleven Miami Beach Police officers searched her apartment after she failed to pay a $16 cab fare.
Candace Padavick sought monetary damages from the City and Miami Beach Police Officers Joseph Gonzalez and Giordano Cardoso. The incident occurred on April 15, 2013 when Padavick said she and a male friend hailed a cab to take her back to her apartment. Upon arrival she wanted to pay by credit card but the driver refused despite having a card reader in the cab, according to Padavick. When she went up to her apartment to find cash to pay the driver, she went into the kitchen first, greeted a second friend, and then came back into the living room where she did not see the friend who had ridden in the cab with her. Assuming the friend went down to pay the cab driver, Padavick went to take a shower according to the lawsuit.
The cab driver called police when no one came down to pay his fare but, while waiting for police to arrive, he was paid $20 by the doorman in Padavick’s building. The suit stated that when officers arrived, they informed the cab driver the doorman could not pay the fine. One of the officers took the money from him and returned it to the doorman.
At this point, according to the suit, things took a bad turn. While in the shower, Padavick heard loud banging on her door. She put her bathrobe on and partially opened the door to find Officers Gonzalez and Cardoso in the hall. She refused their direction to come out to the hall saying she was only wearing a bathrobe and refused to give them entry to her apartment without a warrant. According to the suit, “[T]he officers pushed the door completely open. One of the defendant officers grabbed her arm and pulled her into the hallway. In an effort to move back into her apartment Ms. Padavick pulled away from the officer’s grasp. The officer yanked at her robe causing it to fall off her body; it hung from her arms. As she had no undergarments her body was completely exposed to the two male officers and the two male friends who were standing nearby.” Padavick said one of the officers pinned her against a hallway wall without any clothes for several minutes. After she was brought back into her apartment, the two officers “sat her on the floor, in handcuffs, and still without clothing except for the bathrobe hanging from her wrists. She was placed next to her two male friends who were also on the floor and in full view of the male friends and all the Miami Beach officers who had entered her apartment. She sat there embarrassed as she tried to shield herself from exposure to the officers. At one point when she stood up, one of the defendant officers forcefully grabbed her by the arm and threw her face down onto the sofa.”
According to Padavick, the officers “made no attempt to cover her. She remained in this humiliating condition for at least half an hour in plain view of the male officers who had entered and were moving about her apartment. At one point, at least eleven Miami Beach Police Officers had entered her apartment while she was fully exposed.”
During this time, the suit claimed the officers searched her apartment without her consent. When she asked why she was being arrested, she said she was told to “shut up”. According to the suit, the officers “discovered nothing and seized nothing”.
After a female officer arrived, the suit says she was covered in a “sheer dress” that was “insufficient to properly cover her” and walked through her building’s public lobby. “When Ms. Padavick arrived at the Miami Beach Police Department, she was still handcuffed in metal handcuffs behind her back and only clothed in the sheer dress, without any undergarments. Her handcuffed arms were within the garment. At the Miami Beach Police Station, a male officer working at the station lifted Ms. Padavick’s dress to her waist area, exposing her from the waist down, and changed the metal handcuffs to flex cuffs while two other officers of the Miami Beach Police Department were present.” The suit claims there was no female officer or employee present and, yet, at all times there were female officers available who could have performed the cuff change.
Once taken to the Miami Dade County jail, “she was escorted in front of male corrections officers and other inmates while wearing nothing but the sheer dress” according to the suit.
Padavick claimed she was falsely charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence, resisting arrest with violence, and theft. A year later the charges were dismissed.
Padavick sued on 12 counts including false arrest, illegal search, invasion of privacy, emotional distress, and battery. She also claimed retaliation by the officers after she refused to let them into her apartment and failure to train and supervise the officers on the part of the City.
According to a notice filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, Padavick’s attorneys Gary Kollin and Ken Swartz stated, “all parties reached a full and complete settlement as to all claims in this matter”. A filing by Judge Ursula Ungaro states all papers related to the settlement, including specific terms and conditions, must be filed by January 11, 2018.
City spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said, "The City of Miami Beach has determined that the settlement of this matter will preclude any further legal expenses associated with the litigation, and will serve to bring finality to the pending lawsuit that is deemed to be an acceptable resolution to the City."
RE:MiamiBeach also sought comment from Kollin and Swartz but was unable to reach either at time of publication.
Settlement Reached in Suit Against Miami Beach and Two Police Officers:
woman said she was falsely arrested, humiliated over $16 cab fare