TAMPA, Fla. — Police Chief Brian Dugan announced Thursday that 10 police officers violated departmental policy and face disciplinary action.
- 10 TPD officers face disciplinary action
- Officers found violating department policies
- SEE BELOW: Video of press conference from Chief Dugan ▼
Three of the officers were fired.
Dugan's comments came after an internal investigation that began in September 2018 when a citizen complained that Officers Mark Landry and John Laratta threatened him.
"Investigators attempted to review Officer Laratta's body worn camera and discovered that the incident was not properly recorded. That led to an expanded review of Officer Laratta's use of his body worn camera," police said in a news release.
Ultimately, the investigation expanded to 11 officers. The violations included improperly disposing of evidence, failing to submit required reports, use of tobacco on duty and being discourteous to the public.
Officers Mark Landry, Algenis Maceo and Laratta were terminated. Seven officers had at least one policy violation. One was cleared.
Dugan said five cases had to be dropped because of the actions of the officers.
He said the fired officers "embarrased" the police department and "betrayed the oath they were sworn to uphold."
"To have to stand here before you and explain this is embarrassing to me," Dugan said. "I could not be more disappointed."
Dugan said the violations were policy violations, not criminal.
"Investigators found no evidence that officers improperly arrested or detained suspects, nor that they planted evidence, or violated the rights of suspects," police said in a news release.
Attorney for fired officers responds
Attorney Chip Purcell, who represents the three terminated officers, said he was surprised by the officers' termination.
"None of these officers have been charged with would warrant a dismissal or a termination," Purcell told us. "They’re policy violations."
In at least one of the violations Dugan cited - an encounter with a citizen not being properly recorded on a body-worn camera - Purcell said the evidence didn't support the claim.
"It's obvious the body came had been left on because these instances of disposing the non-criminal marijuana are on the body cam," Purcell explained. "So they’re not improperly turning the body cams off, or else all this evidence they’re using against them to proceed administratively wouldn’t be there."
Purcell also remarked on some of the other violations, including use of tobacco on the job and being rude to the public.
"There is one instance in the entire four months when one of the officers had a cigar in his mouth," Purcell said. "In one of the videos where they are discourteous to the public ... that allegation is legitimate."
Finally, Purcell addressed the felony cases Dugan said had to be tossed due to the officers' actions, offering that it should have never come to that with officers who are otherwise doing good police work.
"If they’re not following policy regarding the disposal of non-criminal marijuana, then let's teach them the way you want them to do it and move on," he said. "You don’t terminate guys who are working this hard and this diligently to protect our community against real trouble, real crime, real gun violence."
WATCH TPD presser on violations: