Florida Governor Rick Scott: Authorized the FDLE to investigate the ACSO
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My wife, Detention Officer Misty Short has been the ongoing target of harassment from Lt. Ray Swallows because she reported officer misconduct at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office in Gainesville, FL. Lt. Swallows lied as an investigator and the Office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs) refuses to conduct a formal investigation. I even contacted Alachua County Sheriff Darnell and she said she would turn the information over to Major Charles Lee (Jail Director). Major Lee is part of the chain of command that is covering this up Lt. Swallows misconduct. Major Lee and Captain Jeffrey Cloutier are aware of what is going on, and have been for a long time. Not only are they doing nothing about it, they have intentionally authorized a stay on Officer Short's transfer to day shift, citing personal matters between Officer Short and Lt. Swallows. Both Major Lee and Capt. Cloutier's initials and ASO ID numbers are on my wife's complaints verify that.
On October Detention Officer Misty Short filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Standards. Detention Officer Misty Short made several complaints about employee misconduct, one of which was that on 09/22/2012 Lt. Ray Swallows ordered her via Sergeant Kenneth Cruse to go to North Florida Regional Medical Center to transport a combative female inmate, later identified as Rebecca Douglas, back to the ASO Department of the Jail, contrary to ASO DOJ Standard Operating Procedures, which says when an inmate is classified as an escape risk, capital felony, violent, or special needs (i.e., wheelchair, etc.) a minimum of two officers will be assigned to transport the inmate. The inmate was charged with two counts of battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, one count of Battery on a Medical Provider, and one count of Resisting with Violence as reflected in case #01-2012-CF-003741-A filed in the Circuit Eight Court. The Office of Professional Standards forwarded this complaint to the Department of the Jail Command Staff to investigate. The Department of the Jail Command Staff then turned it over to Lt. Ray Swallows, one of the subjects of the complaint. I've never heard of someone investigating themselves.
On November 27, 2012 Lt. Ray Swallows wrote an Inter-Office Correspondence (IOC) to Capt. Latrell Simmons with the Office of Professional Standards responding to Misty Short's complaints. There were several untruthful statements in that IOC. One of them was that Lt. Swallows stated, "The inmate was not combative whatsoever." referring to the complaint specific to Officer Short being ordered to transport a combative inmate, Rebecca Douglas, back to the ASO Department of the Jail.
On February 1, 2013 Officer Short wrote an IOC to Capt. Simmons with the Office of Professional Standards. In her IOC she responded to Lt. Swallows' IOC dated 11/27/2012. Officer Short reported several inaccuracies with the IOC that Lt. Swallows sent to Capt. Simmons. One of the inaccuracies was that Lt. Swallows lied in that IOC when he stated, “The inmate was not combative whatsoever.”
According to FS837.06 False official statements.—Whoever knowingly makes a false statement in writing with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his or her official duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
When Lt. Swallows sent the IOC to Captain Latrell Simmons (a public servant whose official duty is to review investigation activities with the OPS Inspectors) on November 27, 2012, he knowingly made the false statement of “The inmate was not combative whatsoever,” in reference to Detention Officer Misty Short’s complaint for the incident that occurred on September 22, 2012 involving Inmate Rebecca Douglas. However Lieutenant Kaley Behl, Sergeant Joseph VanGorder, Deputy Brian Gregalot, and Deputy Donald Nystrom reported in ACSO Offense Report #ASO12OFF008851 that Inmate Douglas was combative. Lieutenant Swallows’ false statement resulted in Captain Simmons, Captain Cloutier, and Major Lee concurring with Lieutenant Swallows’ actions.
Lieutenant Swallows conduct violates at least three level five violations in ACSO Directive 353 - Standards of Conduct and Violation Levels, and is also a violation of 11B-27.005, F.A.C - Moral Character.
This is a violation of ACSO Directive 353.V.A.1 which states, “Criminal Conduct - Employees will obey all federal and state laws, city and county criminal ordinances. Violations of criminal statutes or ordinances, the filing of a deferred prosecution agreement, indictment or information or an arrest and/or conviction can be cause for disciplinary action. Employees will not interfere in any criminal investigation and will report all violations or potential violations of the law.” Lieutenant Swallows violated Florida Statue 837.06, and possibly other statutes, by knowingly making a false statement in writing with the intent to mislead a public servant (ACSO Captain Laterell Simmons) in the performance of his duties (official duty is to review investigation activities with the OPS Inspectors).
This is a violation of ACSO Directive 353.V.A.2 which states, “Conduct Unbecoming an Employee - Employees will not engage in any conduct, on duty or off duty and under the color of their authority, so egregious that it has an adverse impact on the ACSO and destroys public respect and confidence in the Office of the Sheriff and its employees. Such conduct will include, but is not limited to, participation in any immoral, indecent or disorderly conduct, or conduct which causes substantial doubts concerning a person's honesty, fairness, or respect for the rights of others or the laws of the state or nation; regardless of whether such act or conduct constitutes a crime.” Lieutenant Swallows’ conduct causes substantial doubts concerning his honesty. Lieutenant Swallows’ previous assignment was as an Inspector with the ACSO Office of Professional Standards. He has and continues to conduct investigations and his integrity has been irreparably damaged.
This is a violation of ACSO Directive 353.V.A.6 which states, “Untruthfulness - Employees are required to be truthful at all times when acting in an official capacity, whether under oath or not. This includes offering testimony in legal proceedings and administrative inquiries. Untruthfulness includes deliberate misrepresentation of the truth and/or omissions of facts which would clarify an issue. Employees will not falsify any facts or circumstances on any report, record or document, nor will they maliciously destroy any records.” Lieutenant Swallows while acting in an official capacity intentionally lied in an IOC sent to Captain Latrell Simmons. He deliberately stated, “The inmate was not combative whatsoever,” to dismiss Detention Officer Misty Short’s original complaint of be sent to pick up a combative inmate on September 22, 2012, contrary to ACSO policies that require two officers for the transport of violent inmates.
On April 11, 2013, Captain sent an email to Officer Misty Short informing her that he determined her allegations to be unfounded despite overwhelming evidence that Lt. Swallows lied on his initial report to Capt. Simmons in his IOC dated 11/27/2012.
On April 15, 2013, Officer Short was called into Lt. Swallows office, she was informed that she would not be going to dayshift because she had a problem with him and whether it took 2 months or 6 months she would solve her problem with him. He would not move his problem to a new shift. He said he spoke to Captain Cloutier and Major Lee about her and they agreed with him that she needed to stay on his shift. He also stated that she needed to follow the chain of command or she would be wrote up. Nowhere in policy does it say an employee cannot go to OPS without going to your chain of command if you have a problem with your chain of command. In her grievance he wrote, "Because of personnel matters with D/O Short, I requested, and received, a stay on D/O Short's transfer [to Team 1 Days]. This stay was approved through chain of command."
On April 16, 2013, Lt. Swallows told Officer Short that she was to meet Capt. Cloutier on the following Wednesday or Thursday.
On April 17, 2013, Officer Short met with Capt. Cloutier. He told her that as a manager he was balancing out the shifts. He told her that he didn't know if she would ever go to day shift. Capt. Cloutier would not address the issues she was having with Lt. Swallows. Every time she mentioned it he said, "That's not what we are here about. We are here about this grievance." In her grievance he wrote, "still under consideration / timing unknown."
I met Captain Simmons in the ASO Lobby at 9:45 am on April 17, 2013 in an attempt to get a copy of the investigation conducted on Lt. Swallows. Captain Simmons acted as if he didn't know what I was talking about at first. He told me that there was no formal investigation conducted despite the seriousness of the allegations and amount of evidence to support the allegations. Instead there was an inquiry done and he determined it was unfounded.
On April 17, 2013, I emailed Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and informed her of problems that Detention Officer Misty Short has encountered and of the untruthful statements that Lt. Swallows made during the course of the investigation.
On April 18, 2013, Sheriff Darnell replied, "This is to acknowledge your email and to advise you to go through your chain of command or OPS with concerns which directly affect you as an employee or regarding incidents which you have directly witnessed. You make several serious allegations against Lt. Ray Swallows and others. I will meet with Director Lee to address the allegations made, Sheriff"
On April 25, 2013, I did an interview with GTN, a Gainesville news station, about the ongoing harassment of my wife and integrity problems at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
On April 25, 2013, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell made the following press release to GTN: "I take allegations of wrong doing by any employees very seriously. These allegations not only received a thorough investigation at the division level but also by the Office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs)."
The "thorough investigation at the division level" was conducted by Lt. Ray Swallows, aka the subject of the investigation. There was no investigation conducted by the Office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs). The only record they can produce is an email to Detention Officer Misty Short stating her allegations against Lt. Ray Swallows were unfounded.
If Sheriff Darnell is so convinced that Lt. Swallows is truthful and Detention Officer Misty Short is untruthful, then that means Misty Short violated Florida statute 837.05 - False reports to law enforcement authorities. Why would Sheriff Darnell not pursue administrative or criminal charges against Misty Short? Sheriff Darnell will not because it will force an investigation that will exonerate Misty Short and finally identify Lt. Swallows as untruthful.
How can a person be charged with two counts of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, one count of Battery on a Medical Provider, and Resisting Arrest with Violence; and not be combative?
If anyone was to review ACSO Offense Report #ASO12OFF008851 it clearly reports two deputy sheriffs, a sergeant, and a lieutenant report that this inmate was combative. Sgt. VanGorder specifically contacted Lt. Swallows to request a jail van due to the inmate’s resistance level and potential for damage being caused to a patrol car if they were try and escort her themselves. So if Lt. Swallows didn't lie then that would lead me to believe that the only other explanation is that a patrol lieutenant, sergeant, and two deputies falsified an official report and wrongfully arrested an innocent woman. I have know that to be untrue.
I contacted the FDLE and was told they could not do anything without authorization from the governor. I then contacted the governor's office and was referred to the Florida Inspector General's Office. On April 23, 2013, they replied to my request and told me that, per FL Statute 447.203, that they did not legal jurisdiction over local government entities or employees, such as the ACSO. There needs to be an independent investigation conducted on the actions of Lt. Ray Swallows and subsequent actions of of all of the ACSO employees involved in covering up his actions and aiding him in the ongoing harassment of Detention Officer Misty Short.
Bottom line is that Detention Officer Misty Short was retaliated against because she was a whistle-blower regarding officer misconduct (sleeping on duty). They treat her like this to not only harass her, but to show other detention officers the consequences of reporting violations. She has had exemplary employee evaluations (public record) since she was hired at ASO in 2008. Now all of a sudden she is labeled problematic because she reported officer misconduct. If anyone to were pull the duty post rosters for Team 1 nights (public record) for the past year, they would see that not long after she reported sleeping on post, she was moved from I-Pod (where the sleeping was occurring) to the female infirmary (an isolated duty post with a camera facing the officer). This gives me the opinion that the supervisors perceived the problem to be reporting violations and not the violations themselves.
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