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Man claims deputies abused and robbed him

TAMPA — A former Hillsborough County inmate plans to sue the Sheriff's Office, claiming he was abused and his belongings destroyed.

Audie Grogg, 52, was jailed at Orient Road Jail in January, after deputies came across him on the side of the road in Clair-Mel, his motor home out of gas.

Deputies charged Grogg with possession a concealed weapon after they found a flare gun on him. Then, as Grogg was being booked, he raised one of his crutches to a guard during a dispute.

The guard said the crutch hit him in the back of the thigh, garnering Grogg a new charge of battery on an officer.

Prosecutors threw out both charges, saying the flare gun was in plain view and the crutch contact was slight, leaving no injury.

Still, Grogg says there was definitely injury — and it was to him.

Nancy Webb, a paralegal for Venice lawyer Virlyn B. Moore, said Grogg's motor home was trashed and contents stolen while the vehicle was impounded by the Sheriff's Office.

Additionally, Webb said, a deputy pushed Grogg to the ground, aggravating an existing knee injury. His head was also smashed against a holding cell wall, Webb said.

Col. David Parrish, who oversees the jails, said he couldn't comment on any pending legal action except to say that he and his staff had looked into Grogg's claims earlier this year. "I reviewed the video and saw nothing wrong with it," Parrish said. "So, we'll see him in court."

Several former inmates alleged abuse in the weeks after quadriplegic Brian Sterner went public with a video of a Hillsborough booking deputy dumping him from his wheelchair.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said Sheriff's Office attorneys had not yet read Moore's intent to sue, which Webb said was mailed earlier this week. The Sheriff's Office has six months to respond before Grogg can file a formal complaint in court.

The jail practices are currently under review by an independent commission created at the behest of Sheriff David Gee as result of such complaints.

Man claims deputies abused and robbed him 06/12/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 14, 2008 10:54pm]
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