Lawsuit Filed Against Pinellas Sheriff's Office

A lawsuit has been filed against the Pinellas Sheriff's Office by the families of three teen girls who drowned in 2016.

One year ago, 16-year-old Dominique Battle, 15-year-old Ashaunti Butler and La'Niyah Miller, also 15, died when their stolen car ended up in a pond in a St. Pete cemetery following an attempted traffic stop.

 Sheriff's deputies tried to pull over the stolen car in the middle of the night, but it took off at a high rate of speed.  Deputies say they did  not engage in a high-speed pursuit, but followed the car into a cemetery, where the car had already plunged into a murky pond.  

The girls' families contend that deputies didn't try to rescue them.  The sheriff's office says deputies did enter the water, but were thwarted by the muck and darkness.  

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says the lawsuit has no merit.

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