HOW FAR WILL
A CITY GO
TO GET
ITS WAY?

JONES V. THE CITY OF
NEW PORT RICHEY

Welcome to Jones v. The City of New Port Richey, a pivotal case spearheaded by éclat Law’s Founding Partner, Kevin Ross-Andino, that scrutinizes the extents of governmental authority concerning police corruption and the lengths a city will go to conceal it. This page will provide a comprehensive overview of the case, a timeline of significant legal proceedings, and the profound impact it has had on our client, Marlowe Jones’ life. We invite you to join us as we explore the complexities of this legal battle and consider the potential implications should similar cases arise in the future. Thank you for visiting and be sure to check back here for updates as the case continues. We trust you will find this page an informative resource!

2023: PREPARE FOR TRIAL

ACTIVIST MARLOWE JONES' LAWSUIT AGAINST NEW PORT RICHEY HEADS TO TRIAL

Marlowe Jones, an activist, has brought a lawsuit against the City of New Port Richey for civil rights violations. The lawsuit is scheduled for trial on November 4, 2024, after two unsuccessful attempts by the City to have it dismissed. The allegations stem from Jones’ arrest and battery charge in 2020, which his lawyer, Kevin K. Ross-Andino of éclat Law, claims was unlawful. Jones is seeking $2 million in damages for violations such as failure to train, false arrest and imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Interestingly, not only has Jones taken on the city, but former resident Michelle Wojciechowski has filed a similar lawsuit with the same high-profile lawyer seeking $1 million in damages for alleged harassment. Jones has also been vocal about unreported city spending at City Hall meetings and has frequently challenged Mayor Alfred “Chopper” Davis on the issue. These events show the complex and controversial nature of the lawsuit and the strong willpower of activist Marlowe Jones. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

TRIAL DATE SET FOR PASCO COUNTY ACTIVIST'S SUIT AGAINST CITY, FORMER LEADERS

After years of legal proceedings, the civil suit between Marlowe Jones and the City of New Port Richey leaders has been scheduled for trial on November 4, 2024. Jones is seeking justice for what he claims was a wrongful prosecution and subsequent emotional distress caused by an incident at a protest in July 2020. Despite being acquitted by a jury in May 2022, the damage had already been done. Fortunately for Jones, body camera footage ultimately proved his innocence, contradicting the allegations that led to his arrest. While most parties connected to the case have declined to comment, an attorney for the former mayor, who is among the defendants, has gone on record denying all of the allegations against his client. As this case moves closer to the trial date, it becomes increasingly clear that the pursuit of justice is not always a swift or straightforward process. From ABC Action News WFTS Tampa Bay.

2023: THE CONTINUING STORY

MORE CIVIL LAWSUITS LINED UP FOR THE CITY OF NEW PORT RICHEY

éclat Law, led by Founding Partner Kevin Ross-Andino, has been retained by seven residents of New Port Richey to represent them against the city, with demands ranging from $2 million to $5 million. Another lawsuit has been filed already, and we anticipate several other lawsuits will be filed as more residents reach out to us seeking justice.

2023: CIVIL CASE UPDATE

REP. MICHELE RAYNER TALKS INTELLECTUAL HONESTY, AND MARLOWE JONES GIVES UPDATE ON LAWSUIT AGAINST NEW PORT RICHEY

WMNF public affairs program “The Skinny” interviews Marlowe Jones in light of his case’s most recent update: a judge denied the City of New Port Richey’s motion to dismiss.

JUDGE DENIES NEW PORT RICHEY'S MOTION TO DISMISS LAWSUIT FROM BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTOR

After Jones’s legal team struggled to serve individuals named in the original complaint, with as many as seven attempts made, they were forced to remove Debbie Manns, Kim Bogart, Timothy Berge, Christopher Mellecker, Nicholas Rickus, and Robert Marlowe as Plaintiffs. Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle accepted the amended complaint and denied NPR’s motion to dismiss the Jones complaint in its entirety. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

JUDGE REFUSES TO DISMISS LAWSUIT AGAINST NEW PORT RICHEY

A federal judge has denied the city’s request to dismiss Jones’s case, allowing him to move forward with a $2 million lawsuit. The experience has left Jones with physical pain, nightmares, depression and PTSD, but he remains grateful for the support of his family and community. As lead organizer for Faith in Florida, he hopes his experience will inspire others to stand up for their constitutional rights and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. From Suncoast News.

2023: THE RAW FOOTAGE

NEW PORT RICHEY ACTIVIST SUING CITY LEADERS ONE YEAR AFTER JURY ACQUITS HIM

Rochelle Alleyne with ABC Action News Tampa Bay sat down with Jones and his attorney, Kevin Ross-Andino, to discuss what happened in July of 2020. Watch the raw footage, obtained through public records requests, showing the attack on Jones and other BLM protestors, as well as Jones’s wrongful arrest one week later. Alleyne also updates viewers on the status of Jones’s current lawsuit against the city, sharing the efforts that New Port Richey has undertaken to dismiss the complaint. From ABC Action News WFTS Tampa Bay.

2023: CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED

MARLOWE JONES V. THE CITY OF NEW PORT RICHEY, ET AL.

Kevin Ross-Andino and Jolynn Falto-Tomas, Partners at éclat Law, have filed a complaint on behalf of Marlowe Jones against the City of New Port Richey and its police department, mayor, city manager, former police chief, and three officers involved in wrongfully charging and arresting him in July 2020. The eight civil charges Jones is pressing against the Defendants come in the wake of a criminal trial he was made to endure before being acquitted; Jones is seeking over $2 million in damages, exclusive of attorneys’ fees, court costs, interest, and other administrative costs.

2023: POLICE CHIEF ESCAPES ACCOUNTABILITY

NEW PORT RICHEY POLICE CHIEF KIM BOGART RETIRES AFTER
DEFENDING COPS WHO MADE HOLOCAUST JOKES

New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart is retiring, effective January 27, after 10 years of service. His reason for retirement is unclear, however, it comes in the wake of several recent controversies involving officers under his command. Since 2020, a number of officers from NPRPD have drawn notable condemnation for engaging in intolerant and bigoted acts, such as falsely accusing a Black man of a felony, making Holocaust jokes about a Jewish woman’s home during a code inspection, and more. Last month, Chief Bogart defended the implicated officers at a City Council meeting; additionally, the officers received cultural sensitivity training instead of any real discipline. City Manager Debbie Manns backed the Chief’s decisions and has not disclosed yet how the new police chief will be appointed. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

2022: CORRUPTION IN NEW PORT RICHEY

NEW PORT RICHEY OFFICER FIRED AMID ALLEGATIONS OF FONDLING GIRL IN CUSTODY

Police corporal in New Port Richey is fired, but will not be facing criminal charges, after an internal investigation confirms horrendous allegations of sexual misconduct. What should have been a routine transport to the Juvenile Assessment Center turned into a frightening experience for one 17-year-old girl when the corporal made sexually explicit comments about her body, gained access to her phone to find inappropriate pictures, and groped her. The corporal was so distracted in his disgusting behavior that he hit a deer with his patrol car. His body camera was turned off and patrol vehicle footage did not capture any audio, but movements caught by the patrol vehicle camera seemed to corroborate the girl’s story. From Tampa Bay Times.

2020: MARLOWE JONES BATTERY AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER CRIMINAL CASE

In July 2020, Marlowe Jones was leading a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown New Port Richey. After an angry white man interrupted the Pasco County activists by attacking two women, Jones stepped up to intervene — he never imagined that a week later, he’d be arrested on felony charges. It took two years for his case to come to trial, two days for it to be presented, and two hours for it to be concluded by a jury of his peers. Read the articles below for a look at what happened, how things went sideways, and how Jones is finding justice.

BEST TRUTH PREVAILS:
MARLOWE JONES

2022 Staff Pick award for Best of Tampa: People, Places, & Politics. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “Despite the Pasco State Attorney having zero evidence of the false crime other than cop testimony, Jones was taken to court earlier this year. A jury of his peers found him innocent, and he made the cops and the state attorney look ridiculous in the process. An impending civil case against the city is in the works.”

IN TRIAL OF PASCO BLM PROTESTER, STATE ADMITS THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF CHARGES IS TESTIMONY FROM COPS

New Port Richey Police Department Chief Kim Bogart claimed in 2020 that it took a week to arrest Black Lives Matter activist Marlowe Jones because the police had to review video evidence; but just days before trial, Pasco State Attorney admits the only evidence they have is witness testimony from police officers. With five new witnesses brought by Jones’s defense, trial is moved back to May. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

PASCO BLM ACTIVIST FOUND NOT GUILTY AFTER BEING WRONGLY ACCUSED OF BATTERY ON A POLICE OFFICER

Pasco County activist Marlowe Jones acquitted on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting without violence after anxiously waiting two years for trial. Despite accusations from New Port Richey Police Department with no evidence other than an officer testimony, which contradicted the officer’s original report, a jury took just under two hours to come to their “not guilty” verdict. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

PASCO JURY ACQUITS BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTER OF BATTERY ON POLICE OFFICER

With a plethora of video evidence, Marlowe Jones is found not guilty of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting without violence, despite officer’s claims otherwise. According to a New Port Richey police officer, Jones looked like he was grabbing a weapon from his waistband while breaking up an altercation at a BLM protest — but when presented with body-cam footage and other recordings, the officer could not point out where this happened. From Tampa Bay Times.

BLM ACTIVIST WRONGFULLY ARRESTED BY NEW PORT RICHEY POLICE IS NOW FILING A CIVIL CLAIM AGAINST THE CITY

Marlowe Jones now seeking damages in a civil suit against the Pasco County city of New Port Richey. After being acquitted of all charges by a jury of his peers, Jones seeks justice for his wrongful arrest by filing a “Notice of Claim” against the city — which is set to become an official lawsuit if no reasonable response is given within six months. From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

NEW PORT RICHEY CITY MANAGER TEXTED SHE WAS 'NOT HAPPY' ABOUT BLM ACTIVIST'S INNOCENT VERDICT

Public Records Request uncovers text messages between New Port Richey City Manager and former New Port Richey councilman on the day of Jones’s trial. When pressed to clarify, City Manager states “I’m only not happy if things go off poorly, and if Marlowe Jones were to lead the divisiveness in the city through his attendance at [future city council meetings].” From Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

THE STORY OF MARLOWE JONES

THROUGH JONES'S PERSPECTIVE

The story of Marlowe Jones is heartbreaking but holds an important message. We had the opportunity to travel to New Port Richey and interview this remarkable man, whose life has been filled with tragedy yet still shines with courage and kindness. Along with the videos below that tell the tale of his struggles, we wanted to bring his story to life by capturing an intimate look into the journey he bravely takes as he tries to heal from the traumatizing events that were forced upon him by his local government. It’s a powerful story of resilience, community, and justice — one that must be heard. 

We can create a better future for everyone if we stand in solidarity — start now by watching the videos below to hear Jones’s story.

Growing up in the tiny, disadvantaged neighborhood of Pine Hill — squished between Port Richey and New Port Richey’s comparatively booming growth — Jones was witness to the deep roots of inequality laid deep within his hometown. For over a century, Pine Hill was segregated as a Black community, and where many families picked up and left over the years, Jones stayed. He recognized how his family and others like them were treated differently because of the color of their skin, and it motivated him to inspire change throughout Pasco County.

When the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 started in response to the death of George Floyd, Jones chose to step up and use his voice to advocate for those marginalized in his community. He drafted letters regarding social justice reform, devised plans to effect change through direct conversation with city officials, spoke about inequality during New Port Richey city council meetings, and held peaceful protests and demonstrations across the county. His determination stirred many people into action as allies marched passionately alongside him.

But their activism was not without obstacles. Marlowe Jones and the other Black Lives Matter protesters in New Port Richey faced immense challenges while peacefully protesting against police brutality and systemic racism, from harassment by white nationalist groups to lack of support by local government officials to wrongful arrests and assault. In the videos below, you will learn about Jones’s personal experience of the city’s attempt to silence him through wrongful arrest and false charges.

Though Jones’s story is just one of many examples of systematic racism in our society, we have to acknowledge what he and many other Black Americans experience on a day-to-day basis expressed through the power dynamic between the police and citizens. Now is the time for us to learn more and take action against these unjust practices, so that people can be treated with respect regardless of their race or ethnicity.