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.
They also violated Florida Statute 112.532
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.