A Florida man is suing the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and Brevard County's sheriff after he was repeatedly featured on the department's "Wheel of Fugitive" video series.
David Austin Gay, a 23-year-old Brevard County man, was featured on the show four times in 2021 while he wasn't technically a fugitive. On the dates in question, he was either an inmate at the Brevard County Jail, or had already been released from jail, according to the complaint filed January 25, 2023.
Gay is suing for damages in excess of $50,000.
Gay was told to "not bother showing up" to a new job after his then-future boss saw him on the show, according to the Miami Herald.
Among the 12 counts in the lawsuit against Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and the BCSO are defamation and intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress.
In the complaint, Gay seeks relief for, in part, "general and compensatory damages, loss of income, pain and suffering and resulting psychological assessment and treatment, [and] attorneys' fees, costs incurred in this action."
Gay is demanding a jury trial.
“The lawsuit was filed because right is right and wrong is wrong,” said Jessica J. Travis, the lead attorney of DefendBrevard.com law firm, in a statement acquired by the Miami Herald. Travis is representing Gay in the suit.
The two- to three-minute "Wheel of Fugitive" episodes open with peppy music. Next, Brevard County's Sheriff Ivey appears alongside a large "Wheel of Fortune"-esque spinner with a sheriff's badge at the center and mugshots with names appearing on some or all of the ten wedges.
The show concludes when Ivey provides details about the individual that appears on the wedge where the wheel stopped spinning. Ivey then encourages that individual to turn him or herself in, adding that others in the fugitive's sphere of influence may turn them in if they don't do it themselves.
The BCSO is no stranger to creative use of YouTube to enhance community relations and bring criminals to justice. Other selections from the channel include "Fugitive Hunt," "Fishing for Fugitives," and "Mess Around and Find Out."
The most recent "Wheel of Fugitive" episode, dated December 13, 2022, appears below.
Wheel Of Fugitive With Sheriff Wayne Iveyyoutu.be
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