Similar Name, Police Mistake Lands Innocent Woman In A Florida Jail
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Imagine being pulled over for speeding and then all of a sudden, being handcuffed and carted off for jail and you have no idea why. That's what happened to one St. Petersburg woman.
The 10 News Investigators have been going through police records and talking to those involved to discover how this could happen.
It appears a rookie police officer -- who was still on his probationary period -- and his field training officer made a huge mistake that turned Lakesha Jordan's life upside down.
She still calls the entire incident unbelievable saying, "It's crazy."
It started last year, when a warrant was issued for her arrest for a battery at the Midtown Supermarket in South St. Pete. Jordan was arrested and booked in the Pinellas Jail after being stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper for speeding in April.
Jordan says she waited in her car for several minutes when another trooper pulled up and they told her to get of the car, handcuffed her, and said she was under arrest.
"I'm like, 'No Ma'am, you've got the wrong person! No, no!' and I started crying."
Although police hear that all the time, in this instance, it was true. The actual person involved in the battery incident was a woman named Laticia Jordan.
As she held up Laticia Jordan's mug shot next to her face Lakesha says, "I don't know how this officer made this huge mistake."
In retrospect, the incident at the supermarket should have been an easy, open-and-shut case ... not only because it was caught on tape, but also because the victim knew her attacker, filled out the paperwork, and even told the police where the woman lived.
Brenda Shivers, who was attacked at the supermarket, says "The St. Pete police department, they messed up."
In the witness statement Shivers filled out, she clearly says Latisha Jordan was the one who jumped her. But in the incident report, rookie Officer Michael Thacker writes the name was "Lakesha." Then Thacker compounds the problem by saying a photograph of Lakesha matches the woman he saw in the video of the incident.
That boggles Lakesha Jordan's mind as she again holds up the mug shot of the other Jordan next to her face and says "No resemblance anywhere. Not even close."
Even though the attack victim told police and the State Attorney's office they had the wrong person, it took several weeks to drop the charges.
Meantime Lakesha Jordan's attorney, Jordan Tawil, wants the rookie cop and the training officer who was with him to be punished.
Tawil says, "Not to discount what kind of pressure is on them day-to-day, but they have to be careful. They're dealing with people's lives."
Jordan, who says her life has been put on hold as a result of this arrest, says she no longer believes the system treats people as being innocent until proven guilty.
"Because you are guilty, and you have to prove yourself innocent. That's the bottom line."
Lakesha Jordon says besides the trauma of being falsely arrested, she had to go through the humiliation of telling her boss at work, her children and church group ... and she had finished nursing school, but couldn't take the board certification test until she could prove she was not really a felon.
The St. Petersburg Police can't comment, because the case is still under investigation.
The Pinellas State Attorney's Office has not pressed charges against Laticia Jordan, because she and her boyfriend say Brenda Shivers started the altercation by spitting on her. However, the police officers who saw the video say Jordan clearly was the attacker.
Unfortunately the supermarket has since destroyed the tape and the state believes Laticia Jordan and her boyfriend over the word of Brenda Shivers and the two St. Petersburg Police officers who witnessed the incident on tape.