Traffic stop fight latest in drama between Naples man, Collier deputy
NAPLES, Fla. – A traffic stop that turned violent on Friday was the latest in an ongoing drama between the deputy that initiated the stop and the driver who was pulled over.
Robert Dale Harris, 41, faces charges of resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault following the incident on Palm Spring Boulevard. Deputies claimed Harris assaulted them after he was found behind a storage lot.
Harris was stopped by Collier County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kasey Wingo, who was named in a notice to sue that Harris filed against the sheriff’s office in September.
State prosecutors later threw out the case.
“There has been this pattern of relentless sort of, I believe, intimidation,” said Dawn Drellos-Thompson, Harris’ attorney. “Following him, they’ve stopped him several times, driving by his home, and I believe it is in retaliation for the notice to sue.”
Harris was stopped by Wingo on Friday for having the wrong license plate on his vehicle.
When Wingo walked up to Harris, who was sitting inside a Ford Escort, Harris said he wanted to contact his attorney, but Wingo then pulled out his Taser and threatened to kill him, Drellos-Thompson said.
In an arrest report, Harris said “I am not doing anything until I contact my lawyer” after Harris asked for his driver’s license and registration.
“Sgt. Wingo informed Robert that he cannot call his attorney now and requested him to step out of the vehicle,” the report said. “Sgt. Wingo began to open the driver door in order to have Robert step out. At that time Robert put his phone down, reached through the open window with both hands and pulled the door shut, obstructing Sgt. Wingo with his investigation.”
Wingo was pulled into the Ford Escort by Harris, where a struggle ensued, the report said.
Wingo tried to use his Taser, but Harris was able to grab it, then attempted to use it on Wingo, the report said.
Harris was arrested after after a Good Samaritan contacted emergency dispatchers and backup arrived.
Drellos-Thompson questioned the department’s sequence of events.
“I think by societal standards some people might look at (Harris) as being maybe a little cognitively on the slower side, but basically he’s a very good man,” she said.
The sheriff’s office declined an interview request due to the ongoing investigation.