The Missing Internal Investigation – Again, another Whatley Story

The Missing Internal Investigation – Again, another Whatley Story

 

Back in 2015 there was a lawsuit filed against 2 employee’s of the Wauchula Police Department. One of them being the Assistant Chief, Matthew Whatley. The complaint alleges that the 2 employees knowingly accessed personal information through the Driver and Vehicle Identification Database (DAVID).  Looking back at the Deposition of Chief John Eason (US District Court) (Page 5 line 24) (Click Here) John Specifically states “Reviewed the notice of deposition, reviewed the report that I issued based on the internal affairs investigation that i conducted regarding the lawsuit that we received, and reviewed affidavits.” That’s interesting because we requested that IA and this was the City’s response (Click Here) Seems that is the Summary report but not an IA, so we sent another request (Click Here) And they responded with this (Click Here) More info but unfortunately still NO IA report. Needless to say we sent a 3rd request (Click Here). Their response was Everything has been sent (Here). So, still trying to give them a chance, we sent a request asking for ALL Internal Affairs Investigations on Matthew Whatley from Jan 2011 to Nov 2016 (Here). They responded with an IA, Case #14-0001, Which was the CVS Alcohol purchase. Still on Whatley which is interesting but nevertheless not the IA Eason spoke of in the Deposition on  the Santarlas case (US District Court) (Page 5 line 24) (Here)

So conclusion is, there was NO such IA performed. This is a violation of their own SOP No review board was created and this was not only an outside complaint, but a lawsuit which the City settled for $5k.

K. Complaint Review Board
1. A Complaint Review Board will be convened on any allegation(s) made by person(s)
outside the Agency, however nothing prevents a Complaint Review Board to be convened on internal complaints either at the request of the Agency or at the request of the Employee. In the event an Employee requests a Complaint Review Board where
the Agency has deemed it not necessary, the Employee shall file a written request for
the Board within five (5) business days of a notice of the internal affairs investigation
being delivered to the employee. The request shall be sent to the Assistant Chief
from the Employee or the Employee(s) representative.

 

They also violated Florida Statute 112.532

(g) The formal interrogation of a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, including all recess periods, must be recorded on audio tape, or otherwise preserved in such a manner as to allow a transcript to be prepared, and there shall be no unrecorded questions or statements. Upon the request of the interrogated officer, a copy of any recording of the interrogation session must be made available to the interrogated officer no later than 72 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, following said interrogation.
There are No records of an IA, only the Summary report that Chief Eason states is based on the IA he completed.

 

We were curious as if FDLE had or has on ongoing Investigation on this matter so we sent a request to them. They responded and supplied their report. The report basically stated that Whatley was cleared of any wrong doing. We also contact the State Attorney’s office their response is below.

State Attorney’s Response: You allege the Wauchula Chief of Police lied in a deposition.  Because the Police Department is unable to produce to you a record of what you consider to be a sufficient Internal Affairs Investigation, you conclude the Police Chief lied at a deposition.  As you are aware, Chief Eason provided to you a memorandum referencing the possible misuse of the DAVID system.  An investigation into an employee’s actions can run the spectrum from a cursory look to a full blown investigation.  Not all inquiries require case numbers and review boards.  This was an example of an internal inquiry that the Chief apparently believed did not merit further investigation.  The summary authored by the Chief was provided to you upon request.  In any event, the Chief’s testimony, given the facts of the case, does not support a perjury charge.  As you are aware, FDLE conducted an investigation and concluded no further action should be taken.

Yes, We are aware of everything you stated Mrs. Cone, however there are Policies and Procedures that they have to follow. They Didn’t. It’s not a matter of what I consider to be sufficient, I’m just going by their own policies. This was a lawsuit in Federal court that the City settled for about $5k and it didn’t warrant an IA? As far as the FDLE Investigation, that was on Whatley. The information we have provided points to the Chief lying in a deposition and violating their own SOP and Florida Statute 112.532. Our issues is with the way this whole case was handled. Policies and Procedures were ignored.