Civil Rights Case Search

Dismissal of Charges Against Grandmothers

TAMPA FLORIDA - February 15, 2002 - On July 27, 2001, State Attorney Mark Ober announced the dismissal of charges against Grandmothers Janis Lentz, Suni Haught, and their friend. On June 4, 2001, the trio was arrested after Republican operatives pointed them out to Police for removal from an event at Tampa's Legends Field.
One was accosted for holding a sign that read in part, "Boo!" Supporters of President Bush were allowed to remain, displaying signs that were supportive of Mr. Bush, while the grandmothers, whose signs requested an investigation into the Florida election, were forcibly removed from the stadium when they insisted that they had a right to display their signs too. An 81-year-old World War II Veteran suffered lacerations to his head during the incident, where he was asked to put his sign away.
A series of radio transmissions obtained by Attorneys W.F. "Casey" Ebsary, Jr. and Luke Lirot of Tampa, revealed a plan to quash dissent and to prevent dissenters from displaying their messages to the President. Police blocked access to the roadside as President Bush drove to one of Tampa's finest restaurants for a post-arrest dinner.
A Police voice heard on the tapes discussing the Tampa Three stated that she would remove the dissenters, who would have been in view of the President and his brother, Jeb Bush. While routine Police procedure tapes all radio transmissions, Police switched to cellular telephones throughout the event whenever they wished to discuss their plans. Further, the tapes establish that Police had initially discussed arrests for Felony Battery on Law Enforcement Officer charges. Video and Photos from the event clearly established that there was no evidence to support the Felony charges. Prosecutors then decided not to file any charge.