A Florida sheriff has been sued over weekly 'wheel of fugitive' posts on social media in which he spun a wheel of pictures like a game show
- Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been sued by David Gay in a defamation lawsuit.
- Ivey hosts a weekly "Wheel of Fugitive" segment on social media in which he spins a wheel of up to 10 supposed fugitives.
A man has filed a defamation lawsuit against Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey — known for his weekly "Wheel of Fugitive" segments on social media — and the sheriff's office, saying that his name and photo appeared multiple times in Ivey's videos when he was not a fugitive.
In the segment, inspired by the game show "Wheel of Fortune," the Brevard County sheriff spins a roulette wheel of the mugshots of up to 10 supposed fugitives. He then reads the person's charges out loud and encourages them to "do the right thing" and turn themselves in and for viewers to call in or email tips to help find them. The segment debuted in 2015, according to local outlet Florida Today.
Gay pleaded no contest to felony battery in 2020. At the time, he was sentenced to three years of probation, but in 2021, he violated his probation after being arrested on suspicion of committing misdemeanor domestic battery against his father. Gay spent several weeks in the Brevard County jail before those charges were eventually dropped. He was never at any time a fugitive, he said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Brevard County last week. But Ivey cited him in four separate "Wheel of Fugitive" episodes between January and February 2021.
Ivey's characterization of him as a fugitive caused depression and anxiety, he said.
Gay "stayed in his home as much as possible out of fear that the public and/or the police would stop, harass, verbally and physically threaten, or arrest him," according to the suit. He also said he was let go from a job after his employer saw him in a "Wheel of Fugitive" video.
Gay seeks more than $50,000 in damages.
This is not the first time the show has included the names and images of people who are not fugitives. In a 2021 analysis of a year's worth of episodes, Florida Today found 60 individuals included in 45 episodes who were incorrectly featured. According to the publication's findings, 41 of the 45 episodes included "at least one non-fugitive," and, for one segment posted on November 3, 2020, seven of the ten "participants" were not fugitives.
In 2017, Ivey told the outlet the de-facto true crime game show was "designed to engage our community" and said it "has worked almost to perfection." Ivey told the outlet "about 88%" of the suspects either turned themselves in or were discovered through citizens' tips.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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