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A Florida sheriff is in hot water for allegedly mixing business with pleasure and abusing his power.
Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels without pay from his job after he was arrested.
Daniels, 55, is charged with felony evidence tampering and three misdemeanor counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities. He turned himself in at the jail over which he has jurisdiction and was booked and released.
At the source of the scandal in suburban Jacksonville is an allegation that the married lawman ordered deputies to arrest a girlfriend, a former corrections officer, in May 2019, at a traffic stop for stalking, an incident which itself prompted an investigation that lasted more than one year and a 50-page report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The woman was locked up for six hours before she was released with no charges, based on a finding of no probable cause. KNEWZ recalled.
At the time, Daniels told his deputies he had tried and failed to obtain a restraining order against the woman, but that turned out to be untrue, First Coast News reported. Apparently she never previously stalked him either. Daniels reportedly had a six-year affair with the much-younger woman.
According to Jacksonville.com, Daniels may have struck a tentative agreement upon being arrested for a deferred prosecution with state attorney Brad King that he would resign and not seek reelection and “in exchange, the state would drop the charges and Daniels could keep his pension.”
Avoiding the arrest itself was apparently not on the table.
Daniels, a Republican, is running for reelection, however, and will appear on the primary ballot on Tuesday, August 18, where he faces six challengers.
Sheriff Daniels has attributed his arrest to “dirty politics” especially given the timing of the arrest. He also implied that the that mistakes he’s made in his personal life are irrelevant to his job as sheriff in keeping the county safe, although the incident that got him into trouble did involve department resources.
First elected in 2016, Sheriff Daniels made national headlines in July 2020 when he vowed to deputize every lawful gun owner if protesters get out of line in the county.
Gov. DeSantis has not announced whether he will appoint a replacement for Daniels; he may be waiting for the results of the primary to come in.
Daniels may also be named as a defendant in a civil wrongful arrest lawsuit filed by the ex-corrections officer.
Parenthetically, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office was one of the featured departments on the immensely popular, but abruptly cancelled Live PD reality TV show.
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