Marion County Florida Sheriff Indicted

Sheriff BlairA grand jury was investigating the conduct of deputies of the Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s office for using excessive force when making arrests.  Sheriff Chris Blair was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury.  He did, and now he’s been charged with two counts of perjury in an official proceeding, and a third charge of official misconduct. All charges are third-degree felonies.  Officials said that Sheriff Blair “knowingly testified falsely in that while testifying in regard to Dustin Heathman.”

Dustin Heathman was involved in a 6-hour standoff with a SWAT team in 2014.  He was charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer; five counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer; and firing into a vehicle.  In December 2015, a jury of 6 found Dustin Heathman guilty of attempted second-degree murder.  He was acquitted on the charge of shooting into a barn at deputies.

Heathman arrest photo

Dustin Heathman’s Arrest Photo

According to the Sheriff’s department, the SWAT team was deployed to Heathman’s home on the grounds of a violation of a probation warrant for a drunk driving charge. The decision to move in on Heathman was made after his father reportedly contacted the department about an alleged theft.  This raised a question of why an armored vehicle was deployed to deal with a misdemeanor warrant.  It is alleged that Heathman was handcuffed when he was severely beaten by several Marion County Sheriff officers.  Heathman suffered a fractured eye socket, damaged ear, and concussion.

Ocala.com reports that Blair told a grand jury, and also swore in a federal court affidavit, that he did not get a good look at Heathman on June 1, 2014, the day Heathman was arrested.  A video however, was presented showing that Blair was on the scene and looked directly at a bloody, handcuffed Heathman as the suspect is led into a sheriff’s vehicle.

Florida Governor Rick Scott entered an executive order suspending Blair indefinitely.  Governor Scott has appointed Emery Gainey as the Marion County Sheriff.   WFTV reports that yesterday, interim Sheriff Gainey suspended two Majors with the Sheriff’s Department. Maj. Don Maines, who oversaw the Bureau of Professional Standards, and Maj. Tommy Bibb, who oversaw the Bureau of Special Investigations, were placed on paid administrative leave during the transition period.

I went to Youtube looking for a video to accompany this post.  What I found is that there is a Marion County Florida, and a Marion County Indiana, so it took some time after finding the videos to Google for more information to determine what videos applied to Marion County Florida.  There are numerous videos of Marion County Florida Sheriffs, dating back two years ago, using excessive force.  The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted numerous Marion County Sheriffs for civil rights charges, some of which the Sheriffs plead guilty.  The following videos are just two examples of the Sheriff’s caught on tape brutalizing handcuffed suspects.

 

Posted on 05/24/2016, in Cases, civil rights, Cops Gone Wild, Trials and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    Those videos are scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It slays me when some people say the police should be allowed to treat citizens this way. I’m glad to see this department appears to be holding officers accountable.

    Liked by 1 person

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