I lived in North Port, Florida for 14 years. The police department there is called “the North Port gestapo,” and is known to be corrupt, unreasonable and even violent. I was not at all surprised when I heard that two officers were suspended for a scandal alleging wild parties, drugs and sexual assault.
A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Wide-spread Corruption
On March 25, 2014, the Sarasota ABC affiliate, WWSB Channel 7, reported that two officers had been suspended because of charges of false imprisonment and sexual assault, which allegedly happened at a party involving drugs. The victim claims that allegedly, the female officer handcuffed her and they both led her into a bedroom, where the male officer assaulted her.
WWSB’s source, a former Suncoast police officer, tells a sordid story of drinking, drugs, handcuffs and gunplay. He also reported that there was regularly group sex and partner swapping.
Where It All Went Wrong
On March 2, such a party ended with the hostess charging two North Port officers with handcuffing and sexually assaulting her. ABC 7’s source claims that this was not unusual, and the department always covered for them if they “did something stupid.” He says “..they felt like they were above the law.”
My Experience With the North Port, Florida Police
One morning around 2 a.m., I was awakened by officers banging on my door threatening to break it down. They had come to my house looking for someone I knew only by name as a patron of a bar where I ran a karaoke show. For some reason, they thought he was at my house.
The officers tried to get me to step outside. When I wouldn’t and asked them to leave my property and come back with a search warrant, they tried to push me back by stepping up on my doorstep to force their way into my house. One of their officers said “We know you are involved in this,” to which I replied, “You haven’t even told me what “this” is yet, so I’m asking you again to back up and leave my yard.” They left the porch, but did not leave my yard.
After I closed and locked my door and called 911, they were called away, and the police Captain phoned the next day to apologize, saying they had acted on “faulty information.” I never was told what the whole thing was about, or why they had come after me, but stories like mine abound in North Port. I did find out that I was not the only one harassed that morning.
The Current Scandal Takes a Tragic Turn
Tampa Bay 10 news reported on March 21, 2014 that the male officer involved in the case shot and killed himself while Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputies were en route to his house to arrest him. He left a wife and children.
While this story is not surprising to anyone who has ever lived in North Port, it is tragic on so many levels. Corruption is rife throughout the city government, not just in the police department. Citizens call North Port “a little communist state,” and there is a pervasive level of disgust and fear of the government and police among all the citizens. Hopefully, this tragedy will bring much needed clean-up to a potentially lovely city.