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Former worker sues Police Department

A former victim's advocate for the Pinellas Park Police Department filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the city and police Chief David Milchan, alleging civil rights violations. Lisa Ann Jones, who had been the victim assistance coordinator, claims Milchan and several Police Department employees violated her civil rights. She is seeking damages and attorney fees. The suit stems from an Aug. 3 incident in which Jones sent a memo to Milchan, accusing her supervisors of ignoring complaints that two of her colleagues were conspiring to have her fired. Jones also claims her car was vandalized as part of the conspiracy. Milchan ordered an internal affairs investigation. Based on that investigation, Jones was suspended without pay for seven days and ordered to seek psychological treatment through the city's employee assistance program. Instead, she resigned. Pinellas Park City Manager Ron Forbes would not comment Monday night. Jones could not be reached.

POWER LINE SUIT TO BE DECIDED IN HILLSBOROUGH. A Hillsborough County lawsuit that would delay the construction of a high-voltage power line will be decided in Tampa instead of in Tallahassee, a judge ruled Monday. County attorneys are suing the state Department of Environmental Protection, claiming the agency violated the law by failing to hold public hearings on significant changes in Florida Power Corp.'s plans for the 500,000-volt line. The line, which would stretch from Lake Tarpon in Pinellas County to Kathleen in Polk County, crosses through a heavily populated section of northwest Hillsborough.

TRIAL BEGINS IN BEATING DEATH. Jury selection began Monday in the first-degree murder trial of a Tampa man charged with beating a Turkish exchange student to death in September. Robert John Barthmaier faces the death penalty if he is convicted in the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Mehmet Bahar, who was killed after a traffic altercation. Joseph Paul Wagner, also charged in the attack, is scheduled for trial later this month.

AVIATION DIRECTOR HOSPITALIZED. George Bean, executive director of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, was hospitalized over the weekend because of chest pain. Bean had a coronary bypass operation more than 10 years ago, said his secretary, Mary Ann Shurts, but one of his arteries may have gotten clogged again. He was listed in stable condition Monday at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

BOY KILLED BY TRAIN. An 11-year-old boy was killed Monday when he and his brother tried beat an Amtrak train across the tracks near their home, Lakeland police said. Warith Bashir was hit and killed at the crossing at Interlachen Parkway, between Fern Road and Memorial Boulevard, about 7 p.m., police said. He and his brother, Rasoul Bashir, 13, were running north the parkway, heading for their home, police said. The train was traveling 70 mph from Tampa to Orlando. The train resumed its trip about 9:25 p.m.

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