Florida: "Condom Lady" Sues Over Arrest
May 12, 2004
Claiming her good name was besmirched by an April 2002 arrest outside an Oakland Park nightclub, Angie Lee, known around South Florida as the "Condom Lady" for her HIV-prevention efforts, filed a lawsuit April 12 against the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Lee, 37, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. The criminal charges were eventually dropped, but Lee is seeking more than $15,000 to compensate her for the "public scandal, humiliation and mental suffering" she said she endured.
The sheriff's office has issued a written response: It said its deputies acted with probable cause and that Lee's complaint lacked merit.
According to her lawsuit, a club promoter invited Lee in April 2002 to hand out prevention materials, including state-supplied condoms, at an event at the Baja Beach Club. Lee said she was ordered by deputies to leave the packed club's parking lot. The police report said officers were responding to loud patrons. Deputy Jesus Alvarez reported he told Lee to leave or she would be arrested. Lee responded that she had been invited there and was working. The police report said Lee "got loud as she became verbally aggressive towards deputies." According to her lawsuit, as Lee spoke with Alvarez, Sgt. Raphael Perez rushed toward her, spun her around, and handcuffed her. Lee's lawsuit states that a young person observing the scene yelled, "That's the Condom Lady! That's the Condom Lady!"
Lee's Angie B. Productions helps promote HIV awareness events. Lee is state-certified to do HIV counseling and has worked as an employee and a consultant with the University of Miami Medical School. Some area politicians have participated in prevention efforts with Lee. She was photographed swabbing the mouth of Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas on National HIV Awareness Day in 2002.
05.11.04; Wanda J. DeMarzo
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.