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Saturday, August 2, 2008

[FL] "She's whacked... I'm the Hillsborough County fire chief, for crying out loud".

With his wife recanting & charges DROPPED, Fire Chief Nesmith files to sue for his domestic arrest

...According to Nesmith's wife, he had accused her of "whoring around" and threatened to shoot her and himself. "She's whacked," Nesmith said, according to an incident report. "I'm the Hillsborough County fire chief, for crying out loud"...

Previous entry:
March 5, 2008 - [FL] Fire Chief Nesmith's wife fears for her life - No reason to investigate him? - ...[County Administrator] Bean said Hillsborough County won't look into the incident because it isn't directly connected to county business. Hillsborough provides counseling services for employees who need help, and Nesmith might use those services, Bean said. "I have the belief that he is a strong person and he can deal with this"...

The Tampa Tribune
By Stephen Thompson
Published: August 1, 2008
[Excerpts] LARGO - An attorney for Hillsborough County fire Chief William Nesmith filed notice today that Nesmith intends to sue the Pinellas sheriff after deputies arrested Nesmith in March. On March 1, Nesmith, 59, was arrested at his Indian Rocks Beach condominium and charged with domestic battery after his wife, Beverly, told deputies he threatened to kill her and then himself, an arrest report states. Deputies seized two guns found in his personal vehicle and a county-owned vehicle. Later, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office dropped the charge, stating there was no evidence to support it. Nesmith, however, was suspended for two days in Hillsborough because he had brought a firearm into his assigned county vehicle. In his notice to sue, Nesmith's attorney, John Trevena, accused deputies of mishandling the incident and wrongfully arresting Nesmith... Trevena also says that within 20 seconds of the call, it was clear Beverly Nesmith was unsure whether her husband was serious when he made his alleged threat, and she told deputies the gun was in his car. Later, Trevena writes, Beverly Nesmith questioned whether her husband truly threatened her... Nesmith was ordered outside when the SWAT team arrived, and as he exited the condominium with his hands above his head, as instructed, he saw red laser beams from the SWAT team's firearms trained on his chest, which unsettled him, Trevena wrote. During an investigation, Deputy Mark Eastty discovered that Nesmith didn't have the means to carry out any threat to his wife. There were no firearms inside the apartment. The firearms were securely locked in the glove compartment of his vehicle located five floors below the residence, Trevena wrote. However, Eastty erroneously reported that Beverly Nesmith believed her husband had guns inside the apartment and that she "had a well- founded fear of William carrying out the act of shooting her," Trevena wrote, citing a sheriff's report on the incident. Beverly Nesmith adamantly denies ever making such statements, Trevena wrote, citing a sworn statement from her. She also denies her husband was drunk, though Eastty says in a sheriff's report that alcohol was a factor in the incident, Trevena writes... At the Pinellas County Jail, where Nesmith was taken, deputies misrepresented Nesmith as someone who was suicidal, prompting jail staff to strip him of his clothing and replace it with a paper gown that "failed to adequately cover my client, who is tall and weighs more than 245 pounds," Trevena wrote."Furthermore, my client was denied eating utensils and was forced to eat with his hands," Trevena wrote. After Nesmith retained attorney Deborah Moss, the charge was dropped. Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats, to whom the notice to sue is addressed, has six months to settle the matter before Nesmith has to decide whether to follow up the letter with a lawsuit... [Full article here]

August 2, 2008
Tension and rivalry between cops and firefighters isn't new, but wrongful arrest lawsuits between the two camps don't happen often. Now, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Bill Nesmith intends to sue Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats. Nesmith alleges his March arrest following an argument with his wife was unjustified. Nesmith, fire chief since 1996, referred questions to his attorney, John Trevena... "I think sometimes it's better to take the action that we did," Coats said, "rather than investigating injured or dead parties." Deputies went to Nesmith's Indian Rocks Beach condo on March 1 after a domestic disturbance call. According to Nesmith's wife, he had accused her of "whoring around" and threatened to shoot her and himself. "She's whacked," Nesmith said, according to an incident report. "I'm the Hillsborough County fire chief, for crying out loud"... [Full article here]

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