Acquitted man suing OPD, nightclub, diocese over parking lot debacle



ORLANDO, Fla. - A man once charged with four counts of attempted murder is now suing Orlando police officers, a downtown nightclub and the Diocese of Orlando, WFTV found out Friday.

Police fired into Christopher Reed's car after they said he struck four people, trying to leave a downtown parking lot.

Reed has claimed self-defense from the day he was arrested.

It was early-morning on New Year's Day in 2010 when chaos erupted.

Police said Reed struck four men with his car leaving an Orange Avenue parking lot, and an officer opened fire to try to stop him.

Reed was initially charged with four counts of attempted murder, but witnesses testified at least some of the alleged victims beat Reed for no reason after getting kicked out of Club Limelight.

Reed claims he tried to exit one side of the parking lot, but it was blocked off, so he had to drive around when he hit people as he was trying to escape.

"It wasn't Mr. Reed's intent for anyone to get hurt," said defense attorney Carlus Haynes.

Haynes won that argument in court and the judge granted an acquittal.

Now, Reed is suing two officers: One for firing and one for unlawful arrest.

Reed spent 10 months in jail.

Hayne's law partner, Brad Laurent, is handling the civil suit. They're going after the nightclub and the Diocese of Orlando, which owns the lot.

"I don't know if people will be outraged by it or not, but I would imagine people would want to make sure they're safe," said Haynes.  

He justifies it by saying Reed paid to park, but no one was there to make sure it was safe.

WFTV's legal analyst said attorneys are supposed to name anyone who could be in any way liable for damages in a case like Reed's, and attorneys could be sued for malpractice themselves if they don't.