A South Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for wrongfully arresting him as part of their investigation into a sex trafficking ring at several massage parlors, the same sex trafficking ring that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is alleged to have patronized, reports Fox News.
“Law enforcement officials in Martin, Palm Beach, and Indian River counties last month raided several spas where they said men paid for sex acts,” the outlet reports. “More than 60 men have been arrested in connection with the Martin County cases … And among those arrested was Sandipkumar Patel — who last week was cleared of any wrongdoing.”
Patel did not frequent the massage parlors alleged to have been a part of the sex trafficking ring. He was arrested in late February when investigators wrongfully connected him to the Florida Therapy Spa by way of a four-door Porsche that was parked nearby. The car did not belong to him.
“Shame and dishonor not only fell upon me but upon my family and our family name,” Patel said in a news conference on Tuesday.
“Imagine talking to your mother and father, trying to explain you are innocent,” he continued. “Imagine what your two little girls must be thinking and wondering. Imagine what they may be exposed to at school with their friends. Imagine what your wife must be feeling as she has to take the kids to school and see other parents who she may come in contact with. Imagine having to work seeing regular customers on a regular basis who I’ve become friends with and look forward to seeing. Imagine thinking about killing yourself. This did not have to happen.”
“The Martin County Sheriff’s Office last week revealed Patel was, in fact, innocent and had been misidentified,” reports Fox News. “Authorities said the blue Porsche actually belonged to a woman with the same last name and was also co-registered to a man not named Patel.”
“Martin Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Dougherty told TCPalm the confusion began when they researched the four-door Porsche in which the man who received the sex services left,” the report continues. “He said the male co-registrant was not the man in the video inside the spa, so officers kept looking.”
Police fingered Patel while searching for driver’s license photos of men with the same name in Martin County. They said his “license photo matched the look of a man seen on video the police had shot at the spa.”
“It wasn’t him that was in the Porsche,” Lt. Dougherty said. “It was somebody else.”
Patel’s wife, Sonar, says Martin Sheriff William Snyder owes her husband more than just an apology.
“You and your deputy brought my world to an end,” she said. “His face was plastered all over the internet for the world to see. My husband’s only crime was being a Patel.”
The Patel’s attorney, David Golden, said Tuesday that the Sheriff’s office was “willing to sacrifice proper investigative work and our civil liberties for yet another arrest.”