Former candidate files suit against city of Cape Coral
A former candidate for the Lee County School Board has filed suit against the city of Cape Coral alleging his arrest by the Cape Coral Police Department harmed his reputation and cost him the election.
Louis Navarra, a 47-year resident of the city, filed a federal lawsuit related to what his says was his treatment by officers during an arrest on Aug. 10, 2018 as he was running for the District 4 seat on the School Board.
Navarra is seeking $611,365 in damages from the incident he says caused him great humiliation and was to blame for his loss at the polls.
Navarra come in last in a four-way primary race with just over 11 percent of the vote.
Navarra has named three officers in the suit and said he would submit body camera evidence to support his case.
Navarra, now 75, was charged with burglary with assault or battery, a felony. A homeowner on El Dorado Boulevard North said she saw Navarra driving around her house, believing she was being stalked, according to the police report.
Navarra had stopped by the home where a party was happening and asked why he hadn’t been invited. He was told he was not welcome and was asked to leave. He left, but returned an hour later and invited himself in, the report states.
Navarra reportedly was told to leave multiple times and eventually shoved a woman who told him to leave, leading to the charge, according to the report.
Navarra was taken to Lee County Jail where he was later released on $30,000 bond.
The felony burglary charge was reduced to misdemeanor trespass by the State Attorney’s Office. The trespass, and the assault or battery charge, were dismissed upon completion of pretrial diversion. His record has been expunged.
Navarra claims that the officers used profanity and that they violated his civil rights.
He also claims he was the party shoved.
“One of the officers said that I was a drunk, picking up (campaign) signs. I was never charged with DUI and never took a Breathilyzer,” Navarra said. “I only had three signs and one was taken.”
Navarra also claims the house he visited was owned by someone that he and his late wife knew well for years. According to the police report, they had had a falling out a year before.
“I’m 75 years old, a widower, a Vietnam War veteran and was a 40-year teacher here. They knew I was no felon,” Navarra said. “I was never arrested or had a DUI and I’m a first-degree felon? The humiliation is, I lost the election and it was in the media.”
Calls to the city were not immediately returned. The city has a policy that it does not comment on pending litigation.