Video Shows Demoted Flagler Sheriff’s Cpl.’s Contempt for Colleague and Procedures at Traffic Stop
0:00 - Body cam 1
16:18 - Body cam 2
The night of March. 17–St. Patrick’s–then-Flagler County Sheriff’s Cpl. Rob Myers was pulled over by deputy Seth Green on Palm Harbor Parkway in Palm Coast. Myers’ pick-up truck had brushed very close to Green as Green was starting a traffic stop on someone else. Green sped after the pick-up instead, unaware that Myers, a colleague, friend and former supervisor was at the wheel.
The previous report was based only on the investigation. Although a request for Green’s body cam video was filed on Aug. 30, the day after the publication of the report on the investigation, it took the Sheriff’s Office 29 days to fulfill the request as the public information office repeatedly promised to deliver the footage, only to delay again and again, then issuing a bill on Sept. 14 for 3.5 hours of work to redact the video. The sum total of redacted footage (the blocking of Myers’s drivers’ license and license plate, which are exempt from public record disclosure) amounted to 7 minutes and 33 seconds. The first 15 minutes were not delivered until Sept. 19, the remaining 27 minutes not until Sept. 29.
The 48 minutes of the incident, 42 of them captured on Green’s body cam video, are a rare look into the equally rare occurrence of a law enforcement officer policing another from the same agency.
The Sheriff’s Office in its law enforcement capacity mostly comes off well: Green proceeds as anyone pulled over would want a law enforcement officer to proceed. He is professional, calm, remarkably patient, and never loses his cool despite finding himself in a clearly intolerable position. His conduct and words make it obvious that he did not want to be there even as he was left dangling for a long time, without supervisory support, to face an angry Myers.
The Sheriff’s Office as represented by Myers–to the extent that it was the Sheriff’s Office being represented, rather than Myers’s personality–does not come off as well. Myers repeatedly met Green’s deference with contempt, his professionalism with defiance and his requests with ridicule, flouting Green’s police procedures in a way no cop would tolerate long from civilians.
Myers had been drinking. He acknowledged in his interview with Randall Doyle, the internal investigator, that he’d had a few beers spaced out over many hours at European Village. In the video he appeared in control of his capacities–certainly in control enough to argue lucidly and logically, and repeatedly, if angrily and snidely, even as Green was merely writing him a warning and trying to arrange a courtesy ride for him and Nancy Malheiros, another off-duty cop who was with Myers, and who was inebriated to the point of sickness.
Public agencies and private companies routinely, and at times unfairly, discipline their employees’ off-duty behavior. That was only partly the case in the Myers investigation. After the internal affairs investigation, Myers, a nine-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was demoted to road deputy and placed on 18 months’ probation–not for drinking, but for violating the law when he sped past Green, for “unbecoming conduct,” a violation that could have gotten him fired.
The agency has no rules against drinking off duty. Rather, Myers was disciplined for violating the agency’s policy that employees will not behave offensively or compromise their moral conduct, even off duty, if the behavior brings “disrepute” to the agency.
Though Myers’s violations were serious enough to warrant termination, he signed a “last chance agreement,” brokered by the police union.
During the interactions between Myers and Green, Myers alludes to an unexplained conflict between them, an undercurrent that was fleshed out to some extent in the internal investigation: Greene was involved in an attempt to steer the ranks toward a different police union. Myers, a supporter and representative for the existing union, had objected, and the two men’s friendship had deteriorated. Myers claimed–against all evidence–that the traffic stop was an attempt by Green to tarnish him.