[IMAGE CREDIT: Lake County Clerk of Court]
[Original Publish Date: 03/10/20]
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TAVARES, Florida — A man who Lake Legal News reported on twice since December has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
In December 2019, Nicholas Digiacomo, 28, — wearing a bright blue suit with snowflakes — was caught on video shattering a window with a brick and setting a boat afloat at Mt. Dora Boating Center and Marina, 148 Charles Avenue, Mount Dora. Mount Dora Police charged him with burglary, criminal mischief and interference of navigation. While awaiting the disposition of that case, Digiacomo was arrested by LCSO on Jan. 14 for stalking his child’s mother. The stalking charge was later dropped.
On Jan. 27, he received a withheld adjudication and 24 months felony supervised probation for the case in Mount Dora. His conditions include anger management, a veteran’s treatment program, and restitution. He was also ‘trespassed’ from the Mt. Dora Boating Center and Marina.
In the lawsuit filed March 3, Digiacomo — who is representing himself — claims LCSO deputies discriminated against him because he is a father and not a mother. He claims the mother of his child first sent Tavares Police Department to his home on the evening of Father’s Day, 2019, in reference to a custody dispute. Digiacomo explained he had established paternity of the child in Orange County, the lawsuit states. The child’s mother and family members arrived and confronted the Tavares Police officer who allegedly told them it was a civil issue and told them to set up a custody exchange for the following day.
Approximately two hours later, four to six LCSO deputies, “arrived at my home in response to my son’s mother’s demands that they come take my youngest son from me and hand him over to her after she was displeased that the Tavares Police Department did not do what she wanted,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit goes on to claim LCSO deputies surrounded Digiacomo with an “unreasonably (sic) show of force.” Digiacomo tried to explain the establishment of paternity to the deputies and they refused to listen and threatened arrest, he claims. The commotion also woke Digiacomo’s other two children, according to the lawsuit. He reluctantly turned the child over to deputies around midnight.
“The deputies (sic) discrimination against me and their implication that the State of Florida would press criminal charges against me to coerce me into relinquishing custody of my son is not only a violation of my civil rights and liberties, it also caused severe emotional distress to include; overwhelming levels of stress and anxiety, fear of law enforcement, and major depression on not just myself but my older two children as well,” Digiacomo states in the suit.
Digiacomo is seeking $1.85 million in damages.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]