NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion S Palm Beach CountyBoynton Beach


Ocean Ridge police officer sues former vice mayor for battery

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 19:17:23-04

A small town continues to deal with a big problem. An Ocean Ridge police officer filed a lawsuit against the former vice mayor stemming from the arrest of that vice mayor last year.

Ocean Ridge went from quiet coastal side streets to the fast lane when police arrested then Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella in October 2016.

He had a black eye and band aid on his face in his mug shot.

Officers accused Lucibella of drunkenly shooting a gun from his back patio and then resisting arrest. All while hanging out with an off-duty police lieutenant.

Lucibella resigned as vice mayor. The police chief recommended the town manager fire Lieutenant Steven Wohlfiel in January 2017. 

And the fallout continues. Now one of the arresting officers from the incident has sued Lucibella for battery and negligence.

Ofc. Nubia Plesnik claims Lucibella injured her shoulder during the arrest. 

“Mr. Lucibella chose to become physically confrontational and because of that Ofc. Plesnik became injured,” explained attorney Rich Slinkman of Slinkman, Slinkman & Wynne who represents Plesnik.

He said Plesnik deserves “fair and just” compensatory damages for the pain Lucibella caused her. 

“That’s all we’re asking for from Mr. Lucibella, to be responsible for the injuries he’s caused to Ofc. Plesnik,” Slinkman pointed out.  

After the arrest, Lucibella said he was the victim of police brutality.

Monday, he called this civil lawsuit ”comic relief,” adding “it would have been appropriate for the process server to have worn a red nose and clown suit when delivering the filing.” 

“It’s a shame he would feel it’s ‘comic relief,’” Slinkman fired back. 

Ocean Ridge now faces a challenge from the lieutenant fired because of this incident. Wohlfiel petitioned a court with claims the town didn’t follow its own protocol when the manager fired him and he deserves his job back.

Lucibella is due in court to face criminal charges from his arrest in October. He still has time to respond to the new civil lawsuit.