View Full Version : FHP SUED

11-15-2006, 10:29 PM
Published Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Trooper's Lawsuit Names Boss, FHP

By Gabrielle Finley
The Ledger

LAKELAND - A Lakeland Florida Highway Patrol sergeant is suing the agency, his supervisor, a major and the FHP director, claiming they spread false rumors that he was a homosexual and that the supervisor ordered another trooper to fight him while the supervisor watched.

The lawsuit filed in behalf of Sgt. Robert L. Knight, 36, also claims his supervisor tried unsuccessfully to have criminal charges filed against him, saying he "harassed or stalked a fellow male trooper as a result of his alleged homosexuality."

The detailed 16-page lawsuit was filed Nov. 8 in Circuit Court in Polk County and seeks damages of more than $15,000 for defamation, unpaid wages, negligent supervision, malicious prosecution and for violating the Whistler-Blower Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Named as defendants are Knight's supervisor, Capt. Linda S. Perkins; her supervisor, Maj. Thomas M. Knight, the commander of Troop C, which includes Polk County; and Col. Christopher A. Knight, the head of the agency. Robert Knight, who is married, claims all three spread a false rumor that he is homosexual.

Robert Knight, a 12-year veteran of the FHP, is not related to Thomas and Christopher Knight, who are brothers. The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles is also a defendant. The FHP is a division of the agency.

Calls on Tuesday to Perkins, Thomas Knight and Christopher Knight were forwarded to the FHP's Public Affairs Office.

Chief of Public Affairs Maj. Ernie Duarte said the agency would not comment because the case is being litigated.

Robert Knight claims in the lawsuit that Perkins has "abused her power" since August 2003, when she transferred from the Orlando district to the FHP office in Lakeland. The lawsuit refers to an number of incidents, but it doesn't list the dates they occurred.

Knight said Perkins, a 25-year-veteran, told him he was her "enemy" because he was a local FHP union representative with the International Union of Police

Association, the civil complaint said.

"It appears to be the motivation against Sgt. Knight," his lawyer, A. Brent Geohagen, said Tuesday.

Knight filed reports about Perkins' misconduct to Maj. Knight and Col. Knight, but the complaints were ignored, Geohagen said.

Col. Knight and Maj. Knight also "spread the word verbally and in writing" that Knight is homosexual, the complaint claims.

Geohagen said his client's lawsuit against the agency is "almost surreal" because of the number and severity of his complaints.

In the lawsuit, Knight referred to the three years Perkins supervised him as the "reign of harassment and terror."

The complaint says Perkins yelled and cursed at Knight, scheduled an impromptu meeting with Knight to discuss questions about the union, ordered Knight to perform a crash investigation outside of FHP's jurisdiction, refused to let him work an off-duty job in Miami, and denied him pay for a day's work.

Perkins also "harassed" Knight about taking leave to take care of his sick father, a violation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the complaint said.

But Geohagen said those complaints are tame compared with other, "egregious" actions against his client.

Perkins, "under the guise of an investigation," sought criminal charges against Knight, claiming he stalked a male trooper, but the State Attorney's Office refused

to file charges, the complaint said.

Knight was "touched and battered" by another trooper at the direction of Perkins as Perkins watched the fight, the complaint said.

Sgt. Knight was transferred to work in Hardee and Desoto counties after prosecutors did not file criminal charges against him, Geohagen said.

Duarte, the FHP spokesman, said Perkins was transferred to the Tampa district, but that was not done as a result of Knight's complaint.

Gabrielle Finley can be reached at gabrielle.finley@theledger.com or 863 802-7590.


07-02-2008, 01:15 AM
Now Tom Knight is running for Sheriff in Sarasota County. He is an idiot!

07-02-2008, 10:54 AM
Troopers are wierd dam. However they are the top law enforcers of the state and set the example for all to follow. ? NOT