OUTRAGED OVER DECISION ON DEPUTY
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The St. Augustine Record
By Donna R. Ward
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Editor: Regarding The St. Augustine Record's April 26 story, "Deputy gets second chance," it is unbelievable that Sheriff David Shoar believes that Deputy Halford "Bubba" Harris II should not be fired. Shoar is quoted as saying, "For me it boiled down to a guy who got into a domestic with his wife." I thought domestic violence was a crime. The story also quoted Harris, "If you look at the people that are claiming this stuff, it's people that are not gonna have anything good to say about me anyway." The old everyone-is-out-to-get-me excuse. The sheriff said that the December incident was not a crime. "There were no obvious signs of violence." What about sheer terror? What woman would run out of the house naked to get away from her abusive husband if she was not terrified? This man has committed numerous crimes against his wife; yet he can still be trusted to "protect" the public from these same crimes. The story said Harriss threatened his wife with a gun. This is aggravated assault. Threw her to the ground. This is battery. Caused bruising to her arm. Battery. Before being employed by the sheriff's office, the story said, he committed aggravated assault on her and he hit her in the breast while she was pregnant... The sheriff has violated the trust of every abuse victim and every person in St. Johns County... For 4 years, Harris terrorized his wife. 2 years while with the sheriff's office. How many more chances?...
DEPUTY GETS SECOND CHANCE
[Full article here]
By MARCIA LANE
Sunday, April 26, 2009
[Excerpts] St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar has overriden recommendations to fire a deputy after a criminal and administrative investigation into alleged domestic abuse, giving the deputy a "second chance." In a letter last month to Deputy Halford "Bubba" Harris II, Shoar cited "mitigating circumstances" that overrode charges, which included domestic abuse to Harris' estranged wife, lying and insubordination. "For me it boiled down to a guy who got into a domestic with his wife who obviously through past performances demonstrated anger control, anger management issues. That's what it boiled down to," said Shoar in an interview earlier this month. "And for me it just wasn't compelling enough to terminate." Shoar's decision last month overruled internal recommendations to fire Harris... Col. Todd Thompson of the Sheriff's Department, wrote, "The actions of Deputy Harris are in direct conflict with our core values as well as our policy" and that Harris' domestic abuse on his wife is "particularly egregious and trouble(s) me deeply... This trust has been betrayed and I believe it to be my duty to work to ensure that trust is restored both on his assigned shift and with the community"... The incident that led to the investigation happened in the early afternoon of Dec. 24, 2008, when she ran out of the house to the car in her garage, according to a sergeant who responded to the scene. She was naked and carrying their 2-year-old wrapped up in a towel. Harris tried to get in the back door of the car... When she threatened to call 911 for help, she said, he disabled the house phone. She got out through the garage and drove off, calling Harris' sergeant to tell him what had happened. The sergeant she called went to the house and said he found Harris "pacing around like a wildcat" and "extremely agitated"... Harris called the other deputy on his cell... "There are no hard and fast rules necessarily on when an arrest is made. That's a subjective issue in and of itself... There were no obvious signs of violence in terms of marks and what have you. Obviously something traumatic happened. The deputies that night decided that an arrest was not called for," [Sheriff Shoar] said... If Harris had lied, Shoar wrote, "Termination would have been a foregone conclusion."... Found valid by Sheriff Shoar: * Policy 26.1.86 "Conduct unbecoming an officer which may not be specifically set forth in these rules and regulations." * Policy 26.1.5 "Employees, while on duty, shall devote their whole time and attention to duty."...
- January 2007: Became angry and used "pressure points" to control his wife.
- Feb. 12, 2007 (approximately): Following an argument over child custody, threatened his ex-wife with a gun and told her he could "do things to her and people wouldn't know what happened."
- Easter 2008: Became angry and threw his wife to the ground during an argument at his mother's house
- April 2008: Became angry and caused bruising to his wife's arm by grabbing her during argument.
- September 2008: Became angry and blocking his wife with his body to keep her from leaving residence
- Sept. 26, 2008: Became angry and threatened to "give them a reason" to put him in jail if his wife called 911 for help.
- October 2008: Become angry and threatened that if he found another man's car parked at his wife's house, he would go in and only their daughter "would leave alive."
- Nov. 25, 2008: Became angry, threatening to "put a ------- bullet" in his wife's head.
- Dec. 19, 2008: While off duty become involved in two separate verbal altercations with unknown subjects at a Jaguars' game.
BEFORE EMPLOYED BY ST. JOHNS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
ALLEGATIONS IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS REPORT INCLUDE:
- August 2005: After dating wife-to-be for eight months, committed an aggravated assault on her by becoming angry, putting a knife to her throat and threatening, "I ought to ------- slit your throat."
- March 2006: While wife was pregnant, became angry and hit her on her breasts, throwing her into a bed and dresser
TWO INCIDENTS OFFICIALLY DOCUMENTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
- March 10, 1999 (Reported by Live Oak Police Department): Halford Harris II was listed as a suspect in a criminal case in which he was reported as committing battery (twice) on a 61-year-old male victim following a verbal argument. The case was exceptionally cleared when the victim declined prosecution after receiving an apology from Harris.
- Oct. 25, 2002 (Reported by Live Oak Police Department): Halford Harris II was listed as a suspect in a criminal mischief case in which he was reported as damaging the vehicle of a rival subject and then becoming involved in a verbal confrontation with him. Harris was documented as having threatened to "kick his ass." Harris denied committing the criminal mischief, but acknowledged the verbal confrontation.
-- SOURCE: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office