A family targeted in a home invasion in 2010 is suing the city of Sarasota, saying a former city police officer provided information that helped the robbers find their house.
Ivey Bryant and her three children were awakened when two armed men burst into their North Port home in February 2010.
The intruders forced them out of bed and made them lie on the floor. One of them put a gun to the head of Bryant's 15-year-old daughter; the other attacker held a knife to the neck of her 9-year-old daughter, police say.
The two men were looking for Bryant's husband and they only left after one of the children blurted out a false location, saying they could find him there.
An internal investigation by Sarasota Police concluded that the men found the Bryant home with help from former SPD officer Katrina Young.
The Bryants had recently moved, and detectives found that Young used a state driver's license database to look up their address.
A cousin of Young's told detectives that he had called Young while she was on duty and informed her about an ongoing feud between Ivey Bryant's husband, Terrance Bryant, and another man.
The cousin, Whizz Harris, also told detectives that Young gave him the Bryants' address on "Tailwood Terrace" -- a misspelling for Talwood Terrace in North Port.
The home invasion occurred about a month later.
"They had no idea this was going to happen," said attorney Damian Mallard, who filed suit Friday on behalf of Ivey Bryant and the children. "A mother and three children could have been killed. Instead, they were all subjected to a pretty horrifying experience."
The Bryants moved because the children could not bear to sleep another night in the house on Talwood Terrace.
All of the children are still "traumatized" and being treated by a psychotherapist, Mallard said.
Ivey Bryant, a mental health caseworker and former probation officer, worried for months that Young would go unpunished because criminal charges against her were dropped. Prosecutors could not find Young's cousin and determined they did not have enough evidence to charge her with a crime.
Young, who denied providing the address, was fired nine months after the break-in for 13 policy violations including lying to investigators.
Attorney Mallard says the city added to the family's frustration by never responding to a notice of claim that was filed with the city about six months ago.
"We never received any kind of response to the notice at all," Mallard said. "There was no attempt to resolve this or in any way contact us about this. The only alternative left to my clients was to file this lawsuit."
City Attorney Bob Fournier, contacted late Friday, said he never saw the notice, and he is not sure why.
Had he seen it, "I would have acknowledged receipt of it in some way, given the nature of what happened," Fournier said.
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