Florida man loses federal lawsuit against corrections officer

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week dismissed a lawsuit filed against a Palm Beach County corrections officer who allegedly cuffed and attacked her 19-year-old daughter’s boyfriend after catching the two copulating. 

“You don’t let a pistol-packing mother catch you naked in her daughter’s closet,” wrote Judge Ed Carnes in Butler v. Sheriff of Palm Beach County and Dorethea Collier. 

Larry D. Butler sued Dorethea Collier, a corrections officer for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department, for excessive force and false imprisonment. Butler alleged that he was punched by Collier and that she used her service weapon to hold him at gunpoint while Collier’s husband also physically assaulted him.

Although Butler was eventually released, Collier allegedly threatened to “discredit him and would engage in some ‘creative writing’ if necessary to justify the filing of charges against him for trespassing on the property.”

The federal court dismissed the lawsuit because Butler could not prove that Collier had abused her position as a corrections officer to deprive Butler of his federal rights.

“Any irate mother with an anger management problem could have done what Collier did,” Carnes concluded.

The three-judge panel ruled that Butler would have to seek his remedies in state court.

“Butler’s briefs leave no doubt that he feels mistreated, and with what appears to be some justification. If the allegations are true, Collier’s treatment of Butler was badder than old King Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog. She might even have acted like the meanest hunk of woman anybody had ever seen. Still, the fact that the mistreatment was mean does not mean that the mistreatment was under color of law,” Carnes wrote.

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