FAU named in suit
Feb 01, 2013 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Florida Atlantic University has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a former campus police officer.
Jimmy Dac Ho, 49, is awaiting trial on charges of felony murder and false imprisonment. Sheri Carter, 29, was shot in her Boynton Beach home on Jan. 31, 2011, and was pronounced dead four days later.
Her mother, Sandi Cooper, filed the civil lawsuit almost two years to the day of the shooting. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $15,000 and contends that "FAU knew or should have known prior to the time it hired Ho that he was not fit to serve as a law enforcement officer."
The suit further states that "FAU also committed negligence by retaining Ho after having initially employed him, even after he had committed acts during the time he was employed by FAU which further demonstrated his propensity toward violence and sadism," according to a statement released by attorney Michael Bernstein.
"FAU does not comment on any active litigation," university spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf wrote in an emailed response to a request for FAU's reaction.
Ho quit the force after his arrest in 2011. FAU personnel records show he had a troubled law enforcement past.
Ho had worked for FAU police since 2006 and had "disciplinary actions in his file," former Deputy Chief Keith Totten said at the time of the investigation.
Ho also worked for the Broward Sheriff's Office from 2002 until September 2004. Two weeks after being convicted of a disorderly conduct misdemeanor involving his wife, he was terminated for violating "moral character standards," according to the Sheriff's Office.
While Ho was a Lauderhill police officer in January 1995, he was involved in a deadly collision with 74-year-old Holocaust survivor Jacob Artman, but Ho was never cited or disciplined, according to his FAU personnel file.
Boynton Beach police detectives learned that Carter was involved with an Internet escort service that was linked to several prostitution and human trafficking investigations.
In a text message to her boyfriend about three hours before the shooting, Carter referred to Ho as a client who was acting "weird and scary," according to police records.
At one point, Ho claimed Carter pulled a gun on him, then he admitted to handcuffing her when he thought she was going to grab a knife, but when he uncuffed her she struggled and he shot her in the abdomen, according to the report.
Even though Ho was off duty and the shooting was in Carter's Boynton Beach apartment, Bernstein contends FAU was liable.
"Ho was in possession of a gun, handcuffs and other police items at a time when he had no business being employed as a police officer and FAU did not take proper action or take any reasonable steps to prevent this police officer from committing this awful crime," Bernstein said in an emailed statement.
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