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Tampa woman claims false arrest over warrant with wrong name, race

in Local Courts by
Pamela Elaine Orellana

A Tampa woman claims she was falsely arrested on a Virginia warrant, despite it having the wrong name and race.

Pamela Elaine Orellana, a 49-year-old Tampa woman formerly known as Pamela Elaine Mullins, was arrested in Pinellas County in 1996 on a charge of performing a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a minor under the age of 16.

Mullins eventually pleaded “no contest.” Adjudication was withheld, but she was required to register as a sex offender.

Since then, Pamela Mullins has had several brushes with the law.

In 2005, Mullins — now Orellana — was charged in Hillsborough County with failing to register as a sex offender, a charge that court records suggest was also dropped. Her husband, Joshua Paul Orellana, sued Pamela for divorce in 2006. Pamela Orellana was also arrested for DUI in 2013.

After a minor traffic accident on Dec. 10, 2014, Orellana, who is African-American, claims to have been sitting in her car when a Tampa police officer handcuffed her and took her to jail. There, she was strip-searched and held on a warrant out of Virginia.

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 25 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Orellana accused police of acting negligently since the warrant was for a white woman in the name had a different middle initial.

“Despite not matching the description of the alleged warrant,” the suit says, “the Defendant yee publicly humiliated and arrested the Plaintiff, leading to the Plaintiff being forced to strip down in front of other people, and the Plaintiff being deprived of her freedom.”

Orellana is asking the court for damages for false imprisonment, battery, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Orellana’s suit does not indicate which Virginia county issued the arrest, exactly who was named in the warrant, nor why it was issued.

One possibility is that if the Virginia warrant concerned a sex crime — as Mullins/Orellana had been a registered sex offender — Tampa police may have held her as a precaution.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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