[Author’s Note: Video above is a year old and only supports the story of Mr. Udell below. The interview of Udell can be seen here – but was unable to be embedded in this post]
This is not a case of police brutality but is indeed a case of a violation of civil rights. This case involves the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and the abuse of a state database called D.A.V.I.D. This database holds Florida citizen’s driver’s license pictures, addresses, social security numbers, and other private and confidential information. Unlawful use of this system is considered a violation of the Federal Driver’s License Privacy Act and is a misdemeanor classified by both state and federal law. What also is interesting is that this case involves a former reserve deputy from the same agency.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit is a former reserve deputy with the agency and has not been employed there for over 10 years. The plaintiff, Spencer Udell , was in a large custody battle with his former wife over their two minor children. His former wife remarried another Martin County Sheriff’s deputy, Kevin Robert Fritchie. One day during a heated argument over the phone Udell became suspicious because his former wife had somehow obtained his current driver’s license and insurance information.
Udell obtained an audit from the state and found out that his information had been ran through the data base over 50 times and 10 of them were accessed by his former wife’s new husband, deputy Kevin Fritchie and his dad – Lt. Dennis Fritchie. He also realized that there were over 18 other deputies that had ran his name on dates when he had no interaction with law enforcement.
He had been pulled over only one time and had minimum interaction with law enforcement in that three year time frame. The traffic stop which lead to an unlawful search by a Sergeant that had been recorded on his audit only three days prior to being stopped outside of his own neighborhood. This stop and illegal search lead to an arrest but was later dropped by the state attorney’s office.
Within that three year term Udell determined that there were a few legitimate reasons but had also determine that 20 deputies had violated his civil rights by running his information over 48 times. He believes this was because deputies with the sheriff’s office were trying to use the data base to attempt to harass and intimidate him. Go figure huh?
The sheriff’s office stated that they may have a legitimate reason given his “long history with law enforcement”. Yes, Udell did have a few personal issues over 10 years ago but all he had is that one unlawful arrest within that three year time frame. So why did over 20 deputies run his information over 48 times? And why is his ex wife’s new husband and his dad running his information if they had never had any interaction with him in a law enforcement capacity?
Udell currently uses his former law enforcement background and training to help regular citizens know their rights and help them protect themselves from out of control bullies with badges.