Demand for Police Reform Grows as New Port Richey Faces Third Civil Rights Complaint

(Altamonte Springs, FL) November 8, 2023 – In the third civil rights case filed against New Port Richey this year, Shinikki Whiting alleges she was wrongfully arrested, physically abused, and denied medical assistance by Officer Joseph Valente on March 30, 2020.

According to the complaint filed by éclat Law, Ms. Whiting was comforting a friend at their apartment complex when Officer Valente forcibly removed her from the scene. When she attempted to document his actions through video, Valente allegedly confiscated her phone, physically assaulted her, and arrested her without just cause. After then-Police Chief Kim Bogart reviewed her story and the video evidence from her arrest, the charges against Ms. Whiting were dropped.

The complaint details Ms. Whiting’s harrowing experience in custody, where she was left handcuffed in a holding cell for two and a half hours and suffered injuries from the arrest. The egregious violations of protocol were affirmed in an administrative review by the New Port Richey Police Department, which concluded Officer Valente had violated multiple city regulations.

The 9-count complaint alleges a range of civil rights abuses including unlawful search and seizure, failure to train, negligent supervision and retention, false arrest/imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

“Officer Valente’s actions were a violation of Ms. Whiting’s constitutional rights,” said Kevin Ross-Andino, lead attorney on the case. “Our team at éclat Law is dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients, and we will not stand by while law enforcement officers abuse their power.”

This marks the third civil rights lawsuit filed against New Port Richey and its officers this year, raising alarm about the city’s conduct and practices, and emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive reform and accountability measures within the New Port Richey Police Department.

Click here to read the complaint.

About éclat Law, PA:

éclat Law is an innovative litigation law firm dedicated to delivering client-focused solutions in the practice areas of civil rights and employment law, class action lawsuits, complex litigation, and arts and entertainment law. Founded by Kevin Ross-Andino in 2015, the éclat team of experienced attorneys and staff is passionate about serving the needs of clients both in and out of the courtroom.