Illegal search scatters baby's ashes

Aug. 2, 2005 at 5:32 PM
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TAVARES, Fla., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A man sued Mount Dora, Fla., police, claiming an officer wiped his infant's ashes from the squad car's hood onto the ground during an illegal drug search.

Jason Burnham filed a suit in Lake County, Fla., Monday against the city and former police officer Brad Cline claiming illegal arrest and emotional damages in the incident last Aug. 14 as he walked home after Hurricane Charley.

Police said Burnham appeared intoxicated, prompting Cline to search him.

Burnham, who said he was taking Xanax for depression in the accidental smothering death of his infant daughter, said Cline had no reason dump out her ashes from the cross-shaped pendant he wore.

"This is probably the most mean-spirited violation of a person's civil rights that I have seen in many years," Burnham attorney Howard Marks told the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel.

Police declined comment on the suit and said an internal investigation neither proved nor disproved Burnham's claims.

Cline resigned the department three months ago and was not disciplined in the case, city officials said.

Burnham said he later lost the pendant.

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