PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Pinellas County family claims deputies traumatized them when they mistook their car for a stolen vehicle.

Jason Frederico said he was driving his 16-year-old daughter, who has epilepsy, to her mother’s house on New Year’s Day when he noticed flashing lights.

“As I pulled to the side and waited for them to go by me, they never went by. As I turned around, rolled down the window, the cops were shouting, ‘Let me see your hands. Step out of the car.’ Zero to 60 very quickly,” Frederico explained.

The incident report said the deputy commanded Frederico and his daughter “at gunpoint” to get out of the car before putting them both in handcuffs.

“They put the handcuffs on her, and at that point, I’m screaming at the deputies, you know, ‘She’s 16! She has epilepsy! The flashing lights. you know, like, what is going on?'” Frederico added.

Frederico said he was never asked to confirm his identity either.

According to the report, the deputy admitted he made an ‘administrative error’ when running Frederico’s license plate. His tag is registered in Florida and deputies were looking for a stolen vehicle with similar tags, but registered out of New Mexico.

“That should trigger an officer to second guess himself before ordering an individual who’s completely innocent out of his car and, even worse, with guns raised and pointing the guns at that individual and his daughter,” attorney TJ Grimaldi said.

ABC Action News has requested the deputy’s body camera video and asked the Sheriff’s Office for comment. Wednesday, we were told Sheriff Bob Gaultieri is aware of the incident, but has not had a chance to review the case.

Meanwhile, Frederico said this should have never happened, but he hopes proper training will be enforced as his family works to heal from the trauma.

“My daughter actually sat there and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘I thought they were going to kill you,” Frederico said.

He continued, “So this is what I’m dealing with, and that night, probably from that night, maybe the next month when I would close my eyes to go to sleep, that’s all I saw was this young, innocent 16-year-old girl in handcuffs which is horrible for any parent to witness.”

 

Source: abcactionnews.com, Lydia Vazquez

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