Edgardo Cancela of Davenport, FL in Polk county was charged with possession of child porn after detectives claimed that they found “files depicting child pornography with pre-pubescent victims” that Facebook claimed had come from an IP address associated with Mrs. Cancela (Edgardo’s wife). The issue here is that the IP address was for a cell phone account that the Cancelas had stopped using when they moved from Puerto Rico to Florida more than a year before.
The cops secured a search warrant for the Cancela’s home, and in May of 2020, they executed that warrant. In the process of searching the home, they used electronic means to scan every electronic device in the home, looking for evidence of child porn. None was found. Also during that search, the couple’s children (ages 10 and 13) were taken by DCF and interviewed. Both children denied ever having been improperly touched or photographed by either parent.
The couple returned home from work while the search was underway, police took them into custody and brought them in for questioning. Even though the cell phones were not named on the search warrant, the police confiscated their cell phones. The cops applied for a second search warrant, covering the cell phones, and the couple was asked to provide passcodes for their cell phones so that cops could see for themselves that they had “nothing to hide.” The couple told them that they wanted to talk to an attorney first.
Despite the fact that the only piece of evidence was the Facebook claim that the wife’s IP address was associated with child porn images, it was the husband who was then arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. The terms of his release were that he was not allowed to see his wife or children and could not even live inside of his own home. The cops then released his name and address to the media, along with information about the alleged crime.
The cops, in filing the child porn charges, made a number of factually incorrect statements. In other words, they lied on the charging affidavit. That’s a felony.
The charges were dropped a year and a half later because police didn’t actually have the evidence that Cancela was the person who possessed or posted the images, despite the charging affidavit claiming that they did. Here is the odd part- all of the video and audio recordings of the search of the home and the interrogation of Mr. Cancela- recordings that show he was being railroaded- are mysteriously missing.
So he is suing. The problem here is that police can’t be held personally liable for their conduct. It’s the taxpayers of Florida that will pay for this. It’s time to end immunity for cops. Let’s force them to get malpractice insurance.