Who’s Protecting Escambia County?

Once upon a time, when people spoke of Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, there was respect in their voices, an air of reverence and admiration that went without question. Now, there is just an aura of malevolence and shame. That is all that remains.

We all are aware that Morgan is NOT any example of a law enforcement officer. We are also cognizant that Haines is not any closer to be a cop than Morgan. His success come from instilling fear, manipulating honorable people into dubious situations for no better reason than he wants to control. In order to survive, “yes men & women” are necessary to fall in line.  Rank and file led by historic failures and an embarrassment to law enforcement.

Recently, there was a public records request obtained that included text messages from ECSO staff members. It should be noted the texts are from people in leadership positions at the ECSO. The same people making decisions about how to investigate cases, make arrests and keep the community safe. These same people are responsible for deciding the fate of so many people without opposition or any check and balance.

During the summer of 2019, make-believe investigation was ordered on Chief Deputy Eric Haines by Sheriff David Morgan. This supposed investigation was to be centered around his treatment of females. Keep in mind that a Federal Court judge has ruled long ago that Eric Haines had displayed conduct that indicated gender bias. The investigator assigned was Mindy von Ansbach Young, who is a subordinate of Chief Haines. Young is in the chain of command for Haines. Still Morgan believed it was a good idea to have a subordinate investigate a supervisor.

Surprisingly, Young fulfilled the dog and pony show of an investigation and it was determined that Chief Haines had committed no violation! How lucky for him. The following text messages were obtained from the ECSO through a hard-fought public records request. The content speaks for itself. Incomprehensibly, Young seems to deeply admire Haines. For this reason, she should have never been assigned to investigate him.

Here are the highlights from the Eric Haines IA:pages-from-i2019-015_eric-haines-ia_unlocked_page_01.jpgPages from I2019-015_Eric Haines IA_unlocked_Page_02Pages from I2019-015_Eric Haines IA_unlocked_Page_03

Pages from I2019-015_Eric Haines IA_unlocked_Page_04
The witnesses highlighted are in the command staff or is Lee Tyree.

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Here is the link to the entire IA:  I2019-015_Eric Haines IA_unlocked

Just to remind everyone, Mindy von Ansbach Young has previously been mentioned in this blog.

For further entertainment here are some of the texts between Young & Haines:

Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_1 (2)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_1 (3)

Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_2 (3)

Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_2 (2)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_5 (2)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_5 (3)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_5 (4)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_6 (2)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_2 (4)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_4 (3)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_4 (4)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_6 (2)Pages from unlocked text file-3_Page_6 (3)

But to sum it up:

mindyPages from unlocked text file-2 (2)

my creation

 

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”.

PBA LETTER.jpg

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.

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.