A Florida sheriff’s department is being sued after the office wrongly displayed a man as a fugitive during their ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ video series.
According to a lawsuit filed by David Gay, 23, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey put his mugshot on the ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ several times in 2021 despite him already being in prison for violating parole on a domestic battery charge.
Gay says he lost a job and has suffered emotional distress from the incident. The man is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
According to a lawsuit filed by David Gay, 23, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey put his mugshot on the ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ several times in 2021
In the game held by Ivey, the names and photos of ten ‘fugitives’ are put on a spinning board until it lands on one ‘lucky’ winner.
The game is inspired by the long running ‘Wheel of Fortune.’
Gay, in the lawsuit, said he was driving to a new job after the domestic violence charges had been dropped when his prospective boss called him with the bad news.
The boss told Gay he had seen the video posted by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and not to bother showing up.
‘As he drove to his first day of work, his new employer informed him by phone to not bother showing up as he had seen Mr. GAY in IVEY and/or BCSO’s ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ videos,’ attorney Jessica Travis wrote in the complaint.
The lawyer said the incident sent Gay into a spiral and the man became wracked with depression and anxiety.
Gay says he lost a job and has suffered emotional distress from the incident
The man is seeking damages in excess of $50,000
This is Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey
Travis said the actions of the sheriff and the law enforcement agency damaged his reputation in a way ‘that has caused him to be regarded with scorn, contempt, ridicule and disrespect which will continue in the foreseeable future.’
A 2021, FLORIDA TODAY reported that Gay was one of 60 ‘fugitives’ who may have been singled out wrongly.
The wrongly-named ‘fugitives’ were named in 45 videos between February 2020 and February 2021.
FLORIDA TODAY found that the 60 individuals were either in jail at the time the episode aired or were already free.
Some, the outlet reported, had no active arrest warrant.
This is David Gay’s mugshot from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
This is Brevard County, Florida, located east of Orlando
Gay spoke to local media in 2021 and called the incident ‘humiliating’
Gay spoke to the outlet in 2021 and called it ‘humiliating.’
‘Something needs to be done about it,’ Gay said at the time. ‘(The sheriff) should probably fact-check everything before he goes showing the whole world talking, telling everybody people’s fugitives when they’re not,’ Gay said at the time.
In a statement issued last week, Travis said the suit was filed to stand up against injustice.
‘The lawsuit was filed because right is right and wrong is wrong,’ Travis said Friday.
‘No one has the right to cause compliant citizens to lose their jobs or live in fear of confrontation or arrest; not even the Sheriff,’ the lawyer said.
‘The lawsuit was filed because right is right and wrong is wrong,’ said attorney Jessica Travis
This is a screengrab from the ‘Wheel of Fugitives’ series which parodies ‘Wheel of Fortune’
Some have lauded the series for engaging the community while others have claimed the show is dehumanizing to those on the board
According to FLORIDA TODAY, Gay appeared on ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ at least three times.
On at least three episodes that Gay’s picture was displayed, he was in custody.
The outlet reported Gay had voluntarily turned himself in for violating parole on a felony battery charge from 2018.
Another domestic violence charge was dismissed after a December 2020 parole violation.
The ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ has been both applauded and criticized in recent years.
Some have lauded the series for engaging the community while others have claimed the show is dehumanizing to those on the board.
The series has run for at least five years on both Facebook and YouTube.
DailyMail.com reached out to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.