A Florida mayor is suing a resident of a neighboring city for bringing up his past as a disgraced Arizona law enforcement officer, alleging the man’s remarks constitute libel. Geoffrey Jacobs, mayor of Pembroke Park, a city halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, alleges that Mark Young, a resident of nearby West Park and a convicted murderer, has written hundreds of Facebook posts about him and posted flyers about him all over town in the past several months. The subject of Young’s posts and papers is Jacob’s history as a highway patrolman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which ended in his firing and decertification in 2009.
The agency investigated Jacobs and alleged that he had used a police plane to fly over the home of an ex-girlfriend, had hosted wild parties, and had written a fake obituary for a former girlfriend so as to transfer a plane ticket to another woman. Jacobs alleges he was fired in retaliation for breaking off a relationship with the department director’s daughter. He filed a civil rights suit against his former employer, but a judge dismissed it in 2011. Jacobs’ lawyer told the Miami Herald, “[Young] is not engaging in protected speech. He has crossed the line by miles and he needs to be held accountable.” Jacobs is seeking $1 million in damages for reputational and emotional harm. Jacobs’ attorney added, “All of these allegations happened more than 15 years ago.” Young called the suit a “trivial and baseless attempt ... to derail my efforts to bring attention to his horrible past.”