Woman plans to sue for false arrest after Florida Panhandle investigation

A woman whose arrest sparked an investigation that led to charges being dropped in 119 cases in the Florida Panhandle has put Jackson County on notice that she plans to sue for false arrest.

Former Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired in early September for violating agency policy, remains under investigation for allegedly planting drugs on people during traffic stops.

Theresa Odom was stopped by Wester on Feb. 15, and body camera video of the stop showed a white packet in Wester’s left hand. How the packet got from his hand to the seat of Odom’s car is unclear in the video.

In the video, Wester first tells Odom there was a problem with her brake lights. Then he said a drug sniffing dog was on the way.

“Instead of doing that, would you consent to a search of your vehicle?” Wester asked Odom in the video.

About 5 minuets into the stop, Wester is already searching Odom’s car, holding what appears to be a baggie with a white substance in his left hand.

Wester covers the baggie up with a cloth, then moves it. His hand leaves the frame and Odom’s purse isn’t visible in the video either.

As he searches her purse, he chuckles as he finds the packet.

Presented with the find, Odom proclaims her innocence on the video.