Evil Knows No Bounds

In previous posts, I have covered how Naomi Jones’s investigation was bungled; how the ECSO refused to do a missing person report when Gavin Clarke’s mom attempted to get help in her son’s disappearance; how so many children have been discarded because the ECSO failed to do their jobs. This story is more than that. When children go missing, there MUST be trust in law enforcement by the community. However, the distrust in this case is well earned by the ECSO.

The case I am speaking of is Jada McNeal aka Jadekiss McNeal. She went missing in December of 2015.  This case has been mishandled by the ECSO since day one. The original missing personsimage0000001 report was “lost” apparently by the agency without anyone as much as attempting to look into the disappearance. She was labeled a chronic runaway.

Three months later, when Jada’s grandmother contacted the ECSO, she was told no report was done in December, so she proceeded to file one right then. However, since Jada had been gone so long, the ECSO considered the case “cold” and used that as an excuse to do virtually nothing. Sometime soon after a lead came to the ECSO that the young girl was in a sex trafficking ring that ran from Louisiana to Las Vegas.4829175381491712.png

Until May of this year, nothing has transpired in this case, or so it appeared when the family did a press conference to refresh interest in the case. In typical Morgan fashion, Sir David held his own press conference lashing out at the family for doing such a thing. The investigator assigned to the case was promptly demoted for not making Sir David aware of the family’s press conference prior to it happening.

Skip ahead 2 months, I got a call from a colleague in the media who received a lead on Jada’s case. My colleague’s source claimed that a lead came to the ECSO about an inmate in Miami/Dade County jail  that had told investigators there that he had information on Jada being trafficked throughout the state of Florida and the last time he had seen her she was alive. The authorities in Miami contacted the ECSO and spoke to Mike Gilmore head of investigations. Gilmore told him the ECSO was not interested in sending anyone down to speak to this guy who had apparently been arrested in connection with sexual crimes. The authorities in Miami were shocked that the ECSO wasn’t interested in at least hearing what this man had to say. But that wasn’t the end of it. Mike Gilmore called Miami back later and made a request for the original statement this inmate made regarding Jada. Gilmore’s request for the “original” documentation concerned the authorities in Miami and they refused to send any original documentation to the ECSO. Chatter on LEOAffairs.com reflects this corroborating the story I was told

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I was stunned by this news. If I had a child missing and I found out even one lead–no matter how far fetched–wasn’t followed up on, I would have someone’s head on a pike. I proceeded pass along this information to a member of the ECSO admin who has attempted to convince myself and colleagues of his interest in correcting the problematic issues within the ECSO. I was apprehensive about this because anyone associated with this agency who either sees the issues of cutthroat behavior towards the employees not to mention the detrimental effect on the community this agency has built up or is there but unaware of these issues, wouldn’t typically get any benefit of the doubt from me. The list of casualties of this agency to the people within it and the community will take years to rehabilitate. I simply don’t know that it can be rehabilitated with the administration in place particularly Eric Haines and David Morgan.

Without any real options, I took a leap of faith and told this one person in a position of authority about the lead I got. He said he would look into it and keep me posted. In the meantime, my colleague I received the original tip from contacted me to tell me that her source clarified that the ECSO received this tip 2 years ago and failed to follow up. This tip sat–unfollowed–in a file for 2 years. I lost my mind. Statistically, the chances of finding this little girl alive are exponentially less every day; in the last two years, the lack of give a shit by the ECSO very likely cost this little girl’s life or depleted the chances of finding her to NIL.

The person at the ECSO I confided this tip in with the hopes of helping this little girl corroborated that this tip was indeed two years old and unfollowed up on. He refused to assign blame but promised to properly handle this lead ASAP. Since then, 3 trips to areas around the Southeast have been made running down this lead. A few names have been given and they are being run down–2 years too late–but possibly to some end.

My heart has been broken by this story. I was put into contact with members of the family via Cindy Martin, an advocate in the black community who contacted me about doing stories about crimes against people of color that have been inadequately handled and less sufficiently covered by any media. For example, James Beasley who contacted Pensacola PD about someone who was tried to kill him, only to be shot dead two hours after they refused to assist him. Or Devin Kennedy of Pensacola who was killed in Seminole, Alabama with neither the Pensacola PD, ESCO or the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office investigating the crime.

How is it possible in this day and age that these things can happen? The fact they almost exclusively happen to minorities adds a level of perception of rampant racism or indifference to those socio-economically below the threshold of most politicians level of sight.

Getting back to Jada, if anyone has any information on this little girl at anytime since December 2015, please contact Milton Search & Rescue’s Steve Williams. He seems to be the only one seriously investigating for this family.FullSizeRenderIMG_6222

Sheriff Morgan Makes False Accusations Against PBA

Sheriff Morgan,

I feel compelled to respond to your letter to Matt Puckett of the PBA. You accuse the PBA of leaking the letter sent to Lee Tyree, stripping him of his PBA obligations due to Haines’s tyrannical handling of deputies’ rights.

I know you are aware I posted that same letter on Facebook a couple of days ago and did a blog post on my blog, ConjuringJusticeBlog.com, yesterday.

Make no mistake: your administration through a NUMBER of sources leaked that document to me, not anyone in the PBA, although I called PBA first after I heard about it. However, my voicemail to Ianna Durning was not returned. Haines’s attempt to hide the letter in his own IA investigation was a terribly misguided thing to do. Everyone aware of that was appalled and reached out to sources to leak it to me.  You have more people in your administration leaking information than ever before. Why do you think that is? Don’t bother with headhunting in this case. There were so many people who contacted me, you would literally have only the handful of people who did not want this left out. I have more supporters than you do, at least in terms of people you supposedly oversee.

As for airing your ex employees’ dirty laundry, I hope Bain Custer sues you for defamation.  You used county resources to do a DNA test of fluids found in his office to prove he had sex on duty. The problem is, the male DNA found was not Bain’s. Was it another sexual deviant in your admin? That expensive test the taxpayers footed the bill for backfired on you. It only reveals the more serious problems of in your agency with you and Haines turning a blind eye to favored employees while you conduct witch hunts for those you don’t. The favored ones are a smaller group every day.

Your prevarication regarding lawsuits is being observed by many. You were not honest in asserting that all cases were dismissed or abandoned, not settled. Anita Hemphill and Jeff Van Camp settled their lawsuits with you, just to name a few. And the ongoing cases include, Laura Montoya, Philip Nix, Mindy Pare, Adam Narvaez and Tama Barber and hopefully Bain Custer soon. And this is not an all-inclusive list. I believe there are more, but you would have to ask your counsel, who is paid for by the people. They have an accurate count I’m sure.

Your rush to judgment on how the PBA letter got out is not surprising. It is much like your impulsive press conference asserting you don’t remember ever meeting Leah Manning, or your rush to think there was no Billy Boyette was in woods next to the vehicle he left abandoned, when, in fact, he was; that poor decision cost another life. All these poor decisions from the number one law enforcement officer in the county. Is there any wonder the people who call you boss, are reaching out to anyone who will listen asking for intervention?

But to be clear, this is me accepting responsibility for leaking this letter that I RECEIVED FROM YOUR OFFICE. You may want to apologize to the PBA.

Sincerely,

Jimmie Lee Staley,

aka “The Blogger who doesn’t deserve airtime”

 

Chief Deputy Haines Hiding Public Records from Deputies

On 8-13-2019, I received a notice from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office concerning a public record request made. The request was for a letter prepared by the Florida Police Benevolent Association Inc. The letter details the change in procedure for employees being investigated or disciplined by the ECSO, taking the point of contact person out of the agency and replacing them with a PBA attorney. This is a drastic move but a positive one for deputies, if they know about it. The letter calls out Eric Haines & the IA investigators for multiple complaints of “intimidation and blatant violations of LEO bill of rights”.

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The letter is addressed to Lee Tyree. Tyree is the President for the local chapter of PBA. He is the only paid board member for the Northwest Florida PBA. Tyree receives a paycheck that is funded by the members of the PBA. The dues the members pay is to ensure that they are protected from improper employment practices. The members are paying to have their careers protected from corrupt leadership. They pay and trust that Lee Tyree will take the proper steps to protect them if needed. The members should be severely disappointed with what they have received from Tyree, while the PBA asserts his ineffectiveness to do his job as being in fear of retaliation, from people on the inside, the ineptness of Tyree is more about keeping favor with Haines, not avoiding retaliation, which is a different motivation altogether

After receiving this letter Tyree was instructed to hand deliver it to Haines. When Tyree provided Haines a copy of the letter, Haines, for obvious reasons, did not want the letter to be a public record. Honestly it is not a letter that belongs to Haines nor is it his call to determine what is a public record. The letter is addressed to the President of PBA, Lee Tyree. However, if Lee Tyree allows Haines to dictate his actions and tells him it is now part of an ongoing Internal Affairs investigation into Haines. Yes, Haines is overseeing his own IA investigation.  But without any balking, Tyree accepts this direction and without hesitation allows Haines to hide the letter from the PBA membership and public.

Every member of this chapter of the PBA should file a complaint against Tyree with the sender of this letter. Tyree has allowed countless employees to be mistreated and disciplined by Haines, knowing violations of employee rights were occurring.  Tyree even helped assist Haines by talking employees into resigning convincing them there is no other options. Tyree was seldom concerned enough to put up a strong defense for employees being harmed by Haines.

Now that we have seen the letter, we know it doesn’t relate to any investigation. There is not a true reason to refuse a public record request because of confidential status. In fact, it is an informative document advising the President of  this chapter of the PBA that a process that has been in place for over 25 years will change. A process for handling investigations and discipline will change because of improper conduct of “upper management” specifically Eric Haines and Internal Affairs investigators. This was a letter written to Tyree so he could inform the membership that PBA was taking action to protect them.

Unfortunately, but predictably, Tyree went the course of conspiring to hide the letter in a bogus Internal Investigation. Tyree is most concerned with being promoted apparently. He jumped at the chance to please Haines even though he was derelict in the performance of the duties he has been paid to perform as PBA President. He did nothing to inform the membership or post the letter for consumption by the membership. Tyree is the person responsible for protecting employees but instead assisted with committing law violations by concealing a public record. Why?

All PBA members should demand an explanation from Tyree and try to determine exactly how much he has kept hidden from the membership. A review of his conduct should be completed to determine if he should return funds received because of  shirking his required duties. In fact, it appears Tyree was more concerned with personal gain and has provided little service to members of the union. His recent contract negotiation left PBA with a shell of a contract and even less job protection. Seems more appropriate for Haines to be paying Tyree and not the membership of PBA for this service of undercutting deputies’ rights.

As far as Public Record request are concerned this is an old issue with Haines. He routinely makes attempts to delay or avoid Public Records requests. Haines should be held accountable for his conduct with this issue as well as the issues brought up by PBA. The fact that the ECSO would consider avoiding public record laws is a major concern. Why is that? What could they be hiding?
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Here are a couple of public records requests that have been difficult to obtain. Maybe some of the readers could attempt to obtain some records. If anyone is willing, go to this link  & please find out for yourselves how certain subjects really upset the ECSO leadership. You probably will not be successful, but you will get a first-person view of corruption at work. Here is the standard template. Copy and paste any all of the requests.

 

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. Monthly total of off duty fee collected from extra duty employment
  2. Any document indicating deposit, expenditure, or disbursement of funds collected from off duty

 

 

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. Any investigation relating to any employee investigated for improper use of SSN
  2. Any employee investigated for committing fraud by stealing identity of a deceased person
  3. Investigation completed by Capt. Ray Briggs on the listed issues.
  4. Any recorded interviews of the subject of the investigation
  5. Crime stoppers tip that notified the ECSO of employee not being a legal citizen

 

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. All training records documenting the training Steve Cappas has received concerning evidence handling.
  2. All training Steve Cappas has received making him qualified to examine electronic evidence

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. Any internal communications, emails relating to & from David Morgan or any public information officers from 7/9/2009-7/15/2009 (Billings case)
  2. Any internal communication relating to server failure for the above time frame

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. All Gulf Coast Crimestoppers payouts for any given year.

In Accordance with FSS Ch 119 I request the following record:

  1. Evidence logs showing chain of custody of all evidence in reference to the Manning case.
  2. All internal correspondence that mentions the name “Jimmie Staley” or “Conjuring Justice”

If anyone gets this information, please share. You will likely be told that the record doesn’t exist or there was never an investigation. Just because they say it doesn’t mean that it is true. A good rule to follow is to verify that the record exists from someone inside the agency. This is my rule of thumb but the powers that be inside the agency haven’t  seemed to figure this out yet.

More Sketchy ECSO Facts

In my last post, the procedure of how the “sensitive” or “exceptional” investigations conducted by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office were handled was explained by LT. Steve Cappas. Zach Ward pointed out how a report with critical evidence that he handled was inexplicably missing from the case file while it was replaced by another report done a year later by a different person. This illustrates tampering and/or destruction of evidence. Steve Cappas tried hard to cover up and explain away inaccuracies told by Sheriff Morgan in his press conference. It was obvious that evidence that should have been handled professionally and securely, was not and many people were aware and had access to sensitive information that could be manipulated for self-preservation by many. I am not saying it WAS manipulated but just the fact that the opportunity and access facilitated the possibility of multiple hands altering evidence to preserve their livelihoods, reputations, and marriages, exists. It would just take one desperate person feeling backed into a corner, with the ability to distort the facts of the case via the digital evidence. While I am not saying it did happen for a fact, often, good people make bad decisions if the opportunity presents itself. This was a politically charged case that could have led to career ending implications, possible jail time repercussions and even personal life destruction. And the handling of evidence was so sloppy, that we cannot know for a fact it wasn’t tainted. That is the reason for police procedures is to minimize opportunities and preserve chain of custody. That did not exist in this case.  My question is how many other cases happened like that over the tenure of Sheriff Morgan?

 In trying to understand if it is possible other cases, big or small, may have been handled just as unprofessionally, we must look at the people in charge of such investigations. Today, I want to continue the discussion with a look at the most recent head of Internal Affairs investigations, Frank Forte. Under his watch, many deputies’ careers have passed through his hands.  Just to give some context and clarification, during Zarzaur’s deposition with Eric Haines, done last week, it came out there is no internal procedure or process of handling or even initiating IA investigations. IA has been used as a tool for the administration to conduct witch hunts against deputies they consider, unworthy of the badge. Any reasoning works and depending on how vehemently Eric wants people gone, it can be a nonsensical and even unlawful process. An example is Tama Barber’s writ of Mandamus, where Morgan decided there would be no compliance hearing that is available to deputies via Florida statute. Morgan doesn’t have the authority to deny that, yet he did. This is standard operating procedure.

None these mishandlings of IA investigations can go on, if a professional is at the head of this department, assuring deputies’ rights aren’t violated as well as procedure is followed to protect the ECSO from liability in wrongful termination suits. Forte being the head of this particular department, is very interesting because there is documentation showing Frank Forte perjured himself.

Because my colleague, Dr. James Scaminaci III delivers the facts as elegantly as I would be able to, I differ to his article on CJ’s Street Report from December 14, 2016:

The basic facts are these.  Sergeant Nix was working a side job in Pensacola Beach.  He gave permission to three vehicles to park in a “Loading Zone” area.  Sergeant Nix knew that there was no Florida statute prohibiting parking in such a zone (there is now).  Sergeant Nix advised Deputy Cripe that he had given the car owners permission to park there and that it was legal.  Deputy Cripe complained to Lt. Frank Forte who instructed Deputy Cripe to write the tickets.  Once Nix left his side job, Cripe wrote two tickets on Saturday and one ticket on Monday.  The three tickets involved two car owners.

Sergeant Nix was subpoenaed to appear as a defense witness, as was Deputy Cripe as a for the prosecution.  Lt. Forte attended as an observer.

After Nix’s testimony had concluded, Lt. Forte told Col Hardy that Sergeant Nix had violated ECSO guidelines in his testimony.  In the June 28, 2016, memo from Col Hardy to Chief Deputy Haines, Hardy wrote:  “Following the hearings, I was contacted by Lt. Forte and he informed me that it was his belief that the testimony given by Sgt. Nix against the Sheriff’s Office during the hearings rose to the level of Unbecoming Conduct in violation of ECSO policy.”

In the very same memo from Hardy to Haines, Col Hardy informed the Chief Deputy that he had checked to see if there were any evidence that could contradict or corroborate Lt Forte’s belief.  There was no such evidence.  Thus, the second Internal Affairs investigation began.

It is important to note that this second Internal Affairs investigation proceeded once Hardy and Haines were assured there was no evidence that could contradict Forte’s statement.  It would be an officer’s word against a sergeant’s word, backed up by a deputy, Cripe who was in the courtroom.

Unbeknownst to Haines, Hardy, Forte, and Cripe, Sergeant Nix, already in the gun sights of the ECSO due to the ongoing first Internal Affairs investigation seeking to charge him with felony grand theft, paid for a court reporter to record the proceedings of the traffic court.

Unfortunately, I do not have an electronic copy of the second Internal Affairs documentation.  However, I do have hard copy of Lt. Forte’s sworn recorded statement regarding IA # I2016-012 dated July 22, 2016.

On page 9 of his sworn to be true testimony, Lt Forte told ECSO investigators, “…and the exact words, I can’t remember but I can tell you that part of it was, I was assigned to that beach for a long time and I’m aware that deputies have a habit of writing illegal tickets there.  And I couldn’t believe that he made that statement in court.  First of all, it’s not a true statement.  But to make that statement is bad enough….Our deputies sitting there shaking their heads.  Got their heads down shaking their heads like they can’t believe those words just came out of Nix’s mouth.”

On page 10, Lt. Forte’s sworn to be true recorded testimony reads:  “POLLOCK: And is this opinion of these illegal tickets or did he just kind of make some blanket statement?  FORTE: Nix blurted the statement I gave you.  Uhm.  He was never asked, what is your opinion or anything of that nature.  I didn’t hear that.  What I heard was Philip Nix explaining how he gave them permission and then he continues on to say something to the effect of, I’m very familiar with that red curb because uh there’s been numerous deputies that have written tickets on that, uh illegal parking tickets on that red curb.  Uhm, and when he made that statement uhm I can assure you no one asked him his opinion or asked him any of that.  He, that was, that was solely on him.”

Pretty damning stuff.  Except not one word of what Lt. Forte swore to be true under oath under the penalty of perjury was true.  He lied through his teeth believing there was no way his perjured testimony could be challenged by Sergeant Nix.

According to the transcript of the traffic court hearing, here is exactly what was said in the exchange between Mr. Chris Rabby, the lawyer for the car owners, and Sergeant Nix, witness for the defense:

“Question: So the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department has been illegally ticketing people for years for parking in front of The Dock?”
“Answer [NIX]:  “I don’t–if there is no statute for it, I don’t know what they are being ticketed for.”
Mr. Rabby:  “I don’t have any further questions of this witness.”

Maybe in an alternate universe there is a Sergeant Nix transforming a question from a lawyer into his own statement, but in that traffic hearing on that day, Sergeant Nix answered in the negative.  Lt. Forte’s sworn to be true testimony is false.  He perjured himself.  Surely there is some violation of ECSO policy for bringing a false accusation against a fellow law enforcement officer, providing false testimony, and wasting the ECSO’s resources on a fake crime.

Was Lt. Forte investigated or otherwise disciplined for making a false accusation, providing false testimony, and wasting ECSO resources?  In the voice of an insurance company model, “No.”

Here, outsiders can see clearly two standards of justice.  If you are a favorite of the ruling class–Morgan and Haines and Hardy–you can lie under oath, as long as your lies are in the service of the ruling class.  In that case, you are golden.  But, if you stand up for ordinary residents being falsely accused by the ECSO of parking their cars in a prohibited loading zone, well, you better have a lawyer and a court reporter on your side.  But what is legal and what is true are of no concern to Morgan and Haines.  What counts for them is blind obedience–the law and truth be damned.

Any resident should be able to understand this case and the jeopardy that puts you in.  If Sheriff Morgan wants you to be fined and/or prosecuted, there are deputies willing to perjure themselves to keep their jobs.  And Morgan will protect them.  We know that because Sergeant Nix advised Sheriff Morgan as to the lies told and Morgan did absolutely nothing

So we have established we have a lieutenant over Special Victims or Investigations that doesn’t secure evidence, now the Lieutenant over Internal Affairs who has perjured himself and been apparently rewarded for doing so by subsequent promotion to his current position after the perjury was made clear to admin. Why should we expect any investigation to be handled correctly when we cannot expect proper handling of big cases, like the Manning sex case nor the civil case involving parking tickets illegally issued?

Anyone wanting to read the entire, lengthy statement of Frank Forte, the court transcript from the civil traffic court case or the result of the IA against Forte for perjury which exonerated him can click links above.

Why Chip Simmons’s Fall from Grace Will Keep Him Out of Public Office

As it has been predicted, the prophesy that Chief Deputy Simmons (aka Chipper) would be more of the same if elected to the office of Sheriff, has come to fruition. Several months ago, an employee outed an affair Chipper was involved in. She was disciplined for having an extramarital affair. Naturally, wanting the policies and rules to be evenly upheld, the employee believed it was wrong that she would be disciplined for an affair and Chief Simmons would not suffer any discipline for having an extramarital affair himself. There were ample details given to investigate this Chipper’s affair via a complaint made to the ECSO. This entire situation should have been investigated, especially since one of the possible victims of the extramarital affair is an employee at the ECSO and Chief Simmons is his boss.

Ultimately, two employees lost their jobs for having an affair. Neither employee was a part of the reported Chipper’s affair. The affair he had (or is having) was never investigated. The rules apparently don’t apply to Pensacola’s fair-haired boy. While the public once saw him as their favored and “honest” political personality, and he played the part by acting like such, he can no longer deny he is just as corrupt and as much of a hypocrite as Morgan or Haines.

The sad part is his conscience isn’t impeding his race for the top. Just imagine, knowing two employees were terminated, effectively ending their careers, for having an affair and you are doing the same thing without fall-out, should weigh heavy if you have any moral compass at all. Yet, with Chipper, not so much. He smiles and shakes hands with campaign donors while the people under him see him as minion of Morgan. As long as he abandons those he is supposed to lead (as he did when Haines held well earned raises over their heads) and stands by watching careers go down the drain for things he is guilty of while he basks in the sunlight, he doesn’t deserve the public trust just like the current administration doesn’t deserve the public respect and trust that was placed in them.

Let’s not forget there is a husband who calls Chipper his boss. This man must smile and grin, knowing that his boss is sleeping with his wife. That is twisted. That within itself is just not the stuff true leaders are made of.  Playing Devil’s advocate, if this is purely rumor wouldn’t any competent leader want to get to the truth in this matter?  However, it seems like, if an investigation were started, it would be documented that Chipper is an adulterer and has abused his power over the husband of his mistress and that is no good for political campaign.

Chipper wants to be the top law enforcement officer in our county. The citizens have the right to know if he is the person, he claims he is. He has worked diligently in his career to build a reputation in the public eye. Yet in almost 4 short years since he was hired, he has become as vile as the man that hired him. I, personally, would like to see some questions answered. I, personally, would like to see an appropriate investigation into this matter. I’d like to see him explain why an extramarital affair makes him worthy of being a Sheriff.

A true investigation would find Chipper involved in an extramarital affair and then there would be questions. He would have to answer why he watched two employees lose their careers because of something he was also doing without consequence. He would need to explain what makes him believe he should be Sheriff after lying about having an affair. I would want to know if he ever feels guilty for allowing himself to avoid responsibility for an act that cost others their career. Two people he knew well and worked with daily. People that he knew was aware of his inappropriate relationship if determined to be true.

One other question of great interest to the ECSO deputies is why he was exploiting his brother’s nepotism. Ken Simmons, Chipper’s brother, was promoted to a Captains position. There is not a career path for becoming a Captain. Historically it has been a political appointment. Morgan promoted Chipper’s brother when the statute is clearly being violated. None of the leadership at the ECSO stepped in and voiced concern for blatant law violations. (FSS 112. 3135) It would be difficult to argue Chipper had no input in the matter or for that matter, that it appears that Morgan was doing him a favor by promoting his brother over more competent candidates.

Neither issue is as concerning to the public as the deafening silence by Chipper, while he is able to make changes. If he is not actually allowed to rule against Haines, then he must be courageous enough to step away and fight to be elected. Taking a path of going along to get along is discouraging. That isn’t a new idea at the ECSO. That is an example of what is not needed. There have been several attempts to reach out to Simmons and beg for his leadership. He has ignored all the calls from employees to help the ECSO survive the failure of leadership. Tell me again why this is the person for the job of Sheriff?

Accountability Still Not a Priority in Escambia

So as many know I have been asking for emails to and from David Morgan and the national news outlets from 7/9-7/15/2009 (the Billings Murder). In 2015, Eric Haines attempted to extortion by demanding $50 for providing an estimate of $7000+ worth of emails. This extortion continued for 2 years. I could not request public records until I paid for an estimate that was crazy stupid. This is a public records violation in and of itself. Realizing how serious this was, Haines allowed me to request other records. How very white of him!

Anyway, the line the ECSO towed after this is that there were no records relevant to my request. Then last year it changed again; the line was “there was no records in the Sheriff’s custody to fulfill the request”. Even the response from Beth Medeiros has this line in quotes…no doubt a line Haines advised her to relay. You see the games they are playing, right? Well, I asked Hayley Minogue, former WKRG reporter, if she would request the same emails as to see if the answer would be the same or if they were just screwing with me. Sure enough, the quoted line was the response.

So, I analyzed the wording, “in the Sheriff’s custody”; ok, maybe there is a county backup server that I can request these emails from. So I emailed Shawn Fletcher, the IT director for the BOCC. I asked that very question. He explained the ECSO has its own backup server that is maintained by their head of IT, Will Meloy. He forwarded my request to Will and was confident that I should hear back by the end of the week. Two weeks pass and nothing. I email Shawn again asking if I understood him correctly and he said again they handle their own backups.

Why such pushback for these emails? I don’t know if there is anything in them but the pushback tells me 4 years later, there is something damning in there, because risking so many violations of Florida Statute over emails with nothing in them?

Reluctantly, I compiled all my documentation and forwarded it to SAO and Greg Marcille, specifically. I had zero confidence in this step as we all know the SAO has covered many crimes such as LET misappropriation for years. The AG and Governor were virtually worthless in years past, telling me to sue or go to the FBI. But we are talking about misdemeanors for the most part and that is not FBI worthy; hell, I knew that, but for public officials it is huge. The people enforcing the laws should comply with them. However, now we have a new AG and Governor, who seems to be no nonsense. I thought I’d try again.

Greg Marcille responded to me.

On Monday 5/13, I emailed Marcille for an update since 21 days had lapse. I was expectantly disappointed by an email from Jody, Marcille’s executive secretary saying the ECSO asked for more time to respond. When I asked how much time, I got crickets. So this was my next email:

As of yet, no response. Unaccountable AGAIN. Not a pair of balls in the county, I’m afraid. Nuclear it is.

More Hijinks of (Chief Deputy) #2

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office staff continues to demonstrate a lack of ability to lead the agency. So often Haines has been motivated to prove he is correct in any chosen dispute. Haines has described himself as having an “issue” with having to be right in any argument. In fact, Haines gave a presentation during a training class that described his irrational behavior concerning having to be correct. In the class, he gave numerous examples that ranged from family vacations to holidays.

There was one fact that everyone could agree on after participating in training class. Haines was such a narcissist he believed that rationalizing his irrational behavior showed how tailored he was to his job and how people must adjust to him in order to have the chance stay at this job. He was so captivated with himself that he didn’t realize he had just proved he was every bit the ego maniac everyone has claimed he was. His belief is that his own erratic and self-absorbed behavior had become an asset to others historically and therefore was a virtue not a shortcoming. He will go into detail to members of the ECSO about his “virtue” and explain why everyone should appreciate it. He is willing to openly describe family events that would make him look transparent and human. The flaw in that logic is the assumption that his self-important narcissism is the presumption he is actually always right. His version of right must be universal in his own mind. Yet he cannot control the thinking of others. So, no matter how long he elaborates on how “right” he is, people may only acquiesce to shut him up, and never agree that he is truly right. More likely, he is only living in a delusion of “rightness” not the actuality of being always right.

Many of the horror stories from the ECSO begin with Haines and end with Haines. His career as a “law enforcement officer” is like comparing a Dr. Seuss to a cardiovascular surgeon. Haines has never completed a true investigation on any major crime. His law enforcement career consisted of going to school and being promoted. Unfortunately, he was not able to achieve much success as an officer. I say unfortunately, not because he wasn’t a good cop, some people just don’t have what it takes to effectively master the psychology of effectively doing the job. It is unfortunate because he must feel he has something to prove to all the people that have been good cops. It is possible Haines would have been different had he possessed the skills necessary to be a true LEO.

Haines tries to square his deficiencies by using power to bully people. This works some of the time. Haines recently asked for an opinion from the Attorney Generals Office. This is a process that is not uncommon. Often there will be a need for the AG to provide guidance to those navigating the law. I believe it would be unfair to criticize Haines for wanting an opinion before deciding on an issue. However, I would expect, if the AG is asked for an opinion, the issue would be extremely important. It would be an issue that would not be a waste of time for the office handling the request. This opinion would make the ECSO become more professional and provide better service to the citizens. Yet it is wrong to make that assumption, in this case.

Haines asked for an opinion concerning internal investigations. Haines wants an opinion that supports his belief to strip an employee of all 1st amendment rights, while under investigation. He has refused to allow union representatives and attorneys to speak during an internal investigation. The statute is clear and leaves no room restrict a person not accused of a crime and not in custody. Haines, in true malicious fashion, seeks an AG opinion when he is finally faced with a situation, he can’t use bully tactics to win. It is a tremendous amount of effort for a case that involves an employee NOT accused of any crime.

The real reason for the effort is Haines is losing the argument. He is hoping for an opinion from the AG that no one can debate. He wants anything but a loss in the situation. He shows no shame in wasting the tax dollars for the time of actual leaders doing a job expected by the taxpayers. Haines has one goal. WIN THE ARGUMENT!

This pathetic individual and his abusive tactics are no secret to Morgan. Morgan is complicit in this as well. His refusal to stand for what is lawful is criminal. Morgan has allowed poor leadership to adversely impact the future of law enforcement in our county. The ECSO has had hundreds of officers and civilians leave or be terminated from employment in less than three years. Haines admitted that the agency is actually losing 4 times the state average in employee loss.  One answer could be that the ECSO is just so unlucky that they get 4 times the derelict applicants than the rest of the state receives.  But that doesn’t explain the loss of double to triple digit veteran employees either forced to leave or forced into retirement. When you have a Chief Deputy that has never made a case or investigated a major crime the problem should be clear. He initiates or causes internal investigations to initiate on deputies when in fact, he has never successfully completed a real investigation. Exactly as it has been said, Haines under the misdirection of Morgan, is the problem. Neither has obtained any level of respect in their law enforcement career. Both are egotistical and self-serving. Both want to show people they have the power. Morgan ruined every relationship with any other agency and Haines destroyed the morale within the agency. Unknown amounts of money wasted and unknown costs to the community in these two inept men who happen to be in leadership positions without being leaders.

The tide is changing, according to people in the department. Morgan is seeing he is only a sheriff who doesn’t get to make every decision on a whim. He has been halted in his steps for the first time. We could be witnessing Morgan losing his Mojo. Haines gets to work on his biggest case ever. A case that will do nothing to reduce crime. A case that has no victim or property loss. A case where there is no crime committed. A case that Haines must be proven right even if it destroys another life or family. A sacrifice Haines is willing to make for the sake of his ego.

One thing in life is always true. The sun doesn’t shine on the same dogs’ ass every day. Eric, you know your time is coming. The lies and deceit that you have been a part of will all be answered in time. You will soon be in a place you are for sure not familiar with…………. court. A level playing field void of the many shadows you have become so accustomed to hiding. Soon a place that you will not be able to fire the people that point out your hypocritical and destructive style you have fashioned. I look forward to seeing you there. I wouldn’t miss the show.     

 

Russian Roulette in Escambia

Public safety in Escambia County is officially a joke. EMS is falsifying certification, failing to train EMT’s. The fire department well, that is a known issue. They both fall under Public Safety in Escambia County.

In the past several days, Escambia County has seen changes in personnel at the management level. After some rumbling about poor leadership and questionable management practices individuals at the top levels are gone. The employees spoke out and received some well-deserved attention. The Escambia County Professional Firefighters, the representing union, took the initiative to act against labor practices that caused the employees to lose confidence in the leadership. The union brought attention to the problems that plagued the employees. The result was favorable to the employees and those performing inadequately in leadership positions are no longer hindering progress of those simply doing the job they are being paid to do.

The recent news is refreshing to many in other parts of the county working for inept leaders. The Escambia County Sheriffs Office is another example of a county agency void of effective leadership. The ECSO has been under the microscope for some length of time. Complaints of LET fund mishandling to numerous lawsuits of misconduct or mistreatment of employees are at a high never seen by any other Sheriff in this county.

The Northwest Florida Police Benevolence Association, the representing union for ECSO employees, could learn some moves from Professional Firefighters. If some action was taken by PBA to expose the corrupt practices that have become so common at the ECSO. The employees could work again with some degree of confidence the leadership had the ability to effectively lead the agency. Exposing the corruption would place in the open how ineffective and destructive David Morgan has been during his time as Sheriff.

The PBA was criticized during the budget debacle in 2018. Eric Haines used the leverage a raise would have on officers and open a contract that was not due to be negotiated. Haines lied to the BOCC and to any citizen that he tried to sway to his side of the argument. Haines was aware he could use the raise to strong arm the union. He didn’t care about the deputies getting a raise. He wanted to spend someone else’s money to achieve a diabolical goal of stripping the contract PBA had negotiated.

Haines argued continuously that the main problem facing the ECSO was officer retention. The truth is poor leadership is the cause of officers leaving the agency. The numbers do not show that the pay increase helped ECSO retain officers. The mass departure of experienced officers to other agencies continues to burden Haines. The main cause of failed leadership practices is the person that can determine the solution and there would be little expectation of Haines firing himself. He still believes he was an actual cop.

The Firefighters had less reason to complain than the officers at the ECSO. It is public knowledge that a Federal Judge has determined in a court decision that Haines had a bias toward female employees. It would be reasonable to believe that Haines should be removed from his position and Morgan should be investigated by the Governor. Any person in a leadership position should not be bias toward male or female. It is either ignorance or arrogance for Morgan to ignore the opinion found in court documents concerning Haines unprofessional behavior toward females. Morgan has the ultimate ability and a sworn duty to protect employees from predators like Haines.

The PBA should understand that sitting back playing catch up is not proven to be the best plan to achieve success. The ECSO has an observable history, with Morgan and Haines at the helm, that would demonstrate an absence of conscious and ability to take the agency into the future. The employees have the right to be protected by the union. The dues payments of the employees are for the purpose of job protection and PBA is responsible to attempt to provide that protection. All employees should call on the President of PBA to form a plan and seek a path that is best for employees. It can be done and was just proven to be an achievable goal by Professional Firefighters.

Kudos to the Firefighters for having the courage to make your own path and demand the leadership your professional talents deserve. Now the ECSO should be next to be evaluated, perhaps by the Governor as Doug Underhill suggested.

The most ironic part of that suggestion is that if the Governor does get involved it will be the entirety of local government that will be investigated including Underhill, who has been caught inappropriately using grant money to the tune of over $2m from the feds and state. He was asked to repay the money back to the county because he usurped money that he was not entitled to.

Bottom line, when you call 9-1-1, you are taking a huge risk of getting an inexperienced, poorly trained first responder, be it EMT, firefighter, or deputy. This is what the county is today.

Update on ECSO

Well, folks, it appears all the blocked/banned people can post on the ECSO FB page. No communication just quietly unblocked/unbanned. Score one for the good guys!

Also, I came across something today. It is something I already knew but it may be news to you. There is a packet of info circulating to the various news outlets. It’s referring to the upcoming Laura Montoya’s upcoming civil trial against Sheriff David Morgan, Chief Deputy Eric Haines, Fred Alford, and Ricky Shelby. Here is the cover page of the packet.




Jury Trial for Gross Misconduct for Morgan & Haines

So Morgan and Haines may be held to task for their gross misconduct by a former employee Laura Montoya, a Hispanic female.  One last settlement conference was yesterday and there was no real settlement offered and now it is on to jury trial. Montoya is the only employee out of the many who hasn’t settled, or given up on this long formidable legal proceedings. Congratulations, Laura!!!
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
PENSACOLA DIVISION
LAURA MONTOYA,
Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID MORGAN, Individually and
in His Official Capacity as Sheriff
Escambia County, Florida; ERIC
HAINES, Individually; RICKY
SHELBY, Individually; and FRED
ALFORD, Individually,
Defendants.
________________

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF

No. 78, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, as follows:
1. Summary Judgment is GRANTED on all claims of race discrimination
and GRANTED for Defendant Alford on all claims;
2. Summary Judgment on Count I and Count II (First Amendment Retaliation) is GRANTED;
3. Summary Judgment on Count III (Equal Protection/gender) (Defendant
Sheriff , official capacity) is DENIED as to the demotion, GRANTED
as to the termination;
4. Summary Judgment on Count IV (Equal Protection/gender) (Individual
Capacities) is GRANTED for Alford on all claims, GRANTED for Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on claims respecting the termination decision, GRANTED on grounds of qualified immunity for Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on the demotion decision, and GRANTED
as to Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on the hostile work environment claim;
5. Summary Judgment on Count V (Gender Discrimination/Title VII and FCRA) (Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is DENIED;
6. Summary Judgment on Count VI (Gender-Based Hostile Work Environment/Title VII and FCRA) (Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is GRANTED;
7. Summary Judgment on Count VII (Race Discrimination) is GRANTED;
8. Summary Judgment on Count VIII (Race-Based Hostile Work Environment) is
GRANTED;
9. Summary Judgment on Count IX (Retaliation/Title VII and FCHR)(Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is GRANTED;
10. Summary Judgment on Count X (Conspiracy, Section 1985) and Counts XI
and XII (Section 1986) is GRANTED.
Trial will be scheduled by separate order.
DONE AND ORDERED this 30th day of September 2018
M. CASEY RODGERS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Let the games begin…get these “honorable” citizens under oath. The lies will then begin flowing.  The people can then pass judgment.