JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three undercover Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives -- 33-year old Lance Griffis, 48-year old Brian Turner and 26-year Kyle Kvies -- are suspended without pay and charged with evidence tampering and conspiracy.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the detectives got rid of beer that was inside their car after they were involved in a deadly police shooting on Feb. 6.
Those officers have not been fired; they’ll still go through a review system and the deadly shooting that night is still under investigation.
“These are serious charges that officers can’t indulge themselves in,” said Action News Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.
That’s why Williams held a news conference announcing the suspension of three detectives.
“If it was a prop, why was it moved out of the car? Why was the scene left alone? The detectives still have to come and investigate the scene and make their conclusions after the shooting? So they removed it, from that crime scene, which is tampering with evidence, and that’s a third-degree felony, and then they’re charged with conspiracy as well," said Jefferson.
“With the limited details I have, I don’t think that this should be in the criminal courts, I think at best it is a department of violation,” said Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona.
Zona held his own news conference Thursday afternoon, responding to Williams' early accusations.
“I would have rather the investigation to be completely finished before you make an arrest. It’s the same thing I did with JSO, you complete an investigation and then you make the arrest,” said Zona.
Williams released the new information, in hopes of being transparent, but Jefferson thinks not everyone will believe that.
“You’re going to have your naysayers, that will say this has been going on for a long time, how many times have they gotten away with it?" Jefferson said.
“What we’re asking for, we’re asking for the public that supports police officers here in Jacksonville to reserve judgement, until all of the facts come out,” said Zona.
“Did they make a bad decision? Maybe, was it criminal? We don’t believe so,” said Zona.
FOP said it will continue to support the detectives throughout this investigation. Meanwhile, JSO said it’s a possibility these officers could lose their jobs.
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