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Former Florida Gators pitcher Stephen Locke sues Gainesville, police officers

GAINESVILLE — Former Florida pitcher Stephen Locke, whose 2009 arrest on charges of driving under the influence led to a 23-game suspension before the charges were dropped, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Gainesville and the two police officers involved in his arrest.

According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District in Gainesville, the former Tampa King standout seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

The lawsuit alleges that GPD officers Joey Devore and Daniel Surrency pulled Locke over on the night of Jan. 24, 2009 without probable cause, then falsely accused Locke, 22 at the time, of driving across the double yellow line into oncoming traffic and nearly causing a head-on collision.

In May 2009, Gainesville State Attorney Bill Cervone dropped the charges, saying evidence from the officer's car video was "contradictory or uncorroborated" and did not show Locke was impaired.

The suit, filed by prominent Gainesville attorney Robert Rush, claims the suspension branded Locke, causing him to be selected in a much lower round of the MLB draft, which ultimately ruined his professional baseball career.

Locke had 12 starts for the Gators in his junior season, second on the team, and was 5-2 with a 3.17 ERA in a career-high 21 appearances. He was drafted by the Angels in the 22nd round and played three years of A-ball.

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Former Florida Gators pitcher Stephen Locke sues Gainesville, police officers 06/19/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 7:05pm]
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