• 2 men win $100K excessive-force lawsuit against Seminole Sheriff's Office


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Eyewitness News is learning more about a $100,000 federal lawsuit settlement involving the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

    WFTV broke the story when two men, Robert Wilds and Channing Byrd, were held at gunpoint by deputies after being pulled over for not wearing seatbelts last year.

    Seconds after the deputies pulled Wilds and Byrd's Chevy Impala over, the two deputies, Erik Ducharme and Christopher Clutter, had them at gunpoint and were screaming profanities.

    The two men were dragged from their vehicle by Ducharme and Clutter.

    The dash-camera video that Eyewitness News first exposed cost the two Seminole County deputies their jobs.

    "Get on the f***ing ground," said one deputy in the video.

    Clutter grabbed a shotgun from his trunk and used a stun gun on Wilds.

    The excessive force at the hands of Ducharme and Clutter will come with a $100,000 payout.

    Attorney Shayan Modarres said what the deputies did was egregious and unreasonable.

    "I think it's just two deputies that overreacted," Modarres said over the phone.

    Modarres filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office on behalf of Wilds and Byrd.

    WFTV spoke with both men right after the deputies were fired. They were still were in shock.

    "Who have I killed, what have I done, why is this happening?" said Wilds.

    Wilds and Byrd were arrested at the time but the charges were all dropped.

    Modarres said if any good comes out of the settlement, it's that "a similar incident does not happen to any citizen of Seminole County going forward."

    The Sheriff's Office said the settlement money is not coming out of the operating budget of the office.

    The money is coming from its insurer, the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund.

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    2 men win $100K excessive-force lawsuit against Seminole Sheriff's Office