Gary Kollin is an accomplished civil rights attorney from Fort Lauderdale who once argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also handcuffed shirtless and shoeless by a Broward County sheriff's deputy in 2013 and on December 31 sued the department and Sheriff Scott Israel in federal court.
In April 2013, Kollin went to visit a female acquaintance living in Parkland. (The suit does not disclose the nature of Kollin's relationship with the woman.) She had also invited her sister, who lived in Coconut Grove, to stay at her home for a few days. On April 10, the woman's sister arrived, along with some dogs and a bunch of personal items. But by the next day, the woman wanted her sibling out of the house, and allegedly asked Kollin to help remove her.
The suit says Kollin, who is in his 50s, eventually called the Broward Sheriff's Office. The complaint says two deputies, Jason Dorsett and George Wentland, arrived in separate cars to find the woman's sister wearing a sleeping mask and pretending not to hear the cops when they walked in.
Dorsett, the suit says, said he was unable to offer any help — the woman's sister would need to be evicted from the apartment. But Kollin, who then identified himself as an attorney, disagreed.
Says the complaint: "[Kollin] verbally challenged Defendant DORSETT concerning what [Kollin] (correctly) understood was Defendant DORSETT’s misapplication of Florida law, and in the same surly manner as before, Defendant DORSETT told Plaintiff and Meyer that he was a law enforcement officer and that he knew the law. In fact, he did not."
Dorsett, the suit says, then told the sister, who was now speaking to the cops, that if she didn't pack her things and leave, animal control would come to take her dogs away. The woman then began loading her things into her car.
But once outside, the suit says, Dorsett began to shine his flashlight into Kollin's car. Kollin, who had walked outside without his shirt or shoes, offered his key to the cop.
"That’s my car," Kollin claims he said. "Here’s my key. If you look inside, I have nothing to hide.”
"Are you trying me?" Dorsett allegedly replied.
Kollin claims he then stuck his keys back into his pocket, extended his hands out in front of him, and said, "Arrest me if you think I did anything wrong."
After speaking for a bit, the cop then told Kollin to go back inside — but as Kollin approached the home, Dorsett allegedly changed his mind and told him to stay put.
"First you say go inside, then you say don’t go inside," Kollin said.
With this, the suit says Dorsett handcuffed Kollin, claiming he was obstructing justice. The suit says the cop then searched Kollin's pockets and inspected his cell phone.
When Plaintiff (who was not wearing shoes) asked Defendant DORSETT if he could be provided shoes, Defendant DORSETT explained that Plaintiff would be provided slippers at the jail. When Plaintiff explained that he was diabetic, Defendant DORSETT permitted Myer to bring Plaintiff shoes and a shirt. The shirt was draped over Plaintiff’s head like a tube sock, as Plaintiff remained handcuffed behind his back.The suit says Kollin was then thrown into the back of a police cruiser but released later on that same night.
New Times reached both Kollin and his lawyer, Hugh Koerner, by phone. Both declined comment. A spokesperson for the Broward Sheriff's Office said the department does not comment on pending litigation. Attempts to reach Dorsett were unsuccessful.
"The conduct of Defendant DORSETT constitutes false arrest/false imprisonment of Plaintiff under Florida law," the suit says.
Kollin, who earned a law degree from the University of Miami in 1979, once represented clients in a 220-person class-action suit against the Broward Sheriff's Office. The sheriff was found to be holding inmates who had been found not guilty in jail. After the department lost the suit, it was ordered to pay $1.1 million.