GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) -- An internal affairs investigation found no evidence Gainesville Police officers acted inappropriately toward city leaders after a controversial vote that impacted officer raises.
The investigation began in September after city officials referred three reports of possible inappropriate behavior to Chief Tony Jones.
Mayor Lauren Poe told the investigator he was driving home from a 10-hour-long meeting over officer pay on Sept. 7th when he was followed by a police officer in a marked patrol vehicle. Poe said he felt the vehicle was following very close until it finally turned. The investigator said he checked GPS data and call details for that time and couldn't confirm which officer might have been in the area. The investigator wrote, "In what I discovered it was determined that it was likely that this situation is nothing more than a coincidence."
The investigator also looked into possible inappropriate comments posted to Commissioner David Arreola's Facebook page. The investigator found some officers disagreed with Arreola's Facebook post saying officers would receive "retroactive raises." Officers commented that he was being intentionally misleading. Arreola said he corrected the post and apologized. "Although some of the posts are very critical of the City Commission's decision and of Commissioner Arreola's initial post, nothing posted used derogatory terms, made threats or knowingly provided falsified or confidential information," the investigator wrote. "As such, the subject matter of the posts would be considered protected speech."
The report says a "more robust" social media policy is being considered but not yet approved.
A third report also involved Arreola and officers who confronted him at The Social at Midtown. Arreola told the investigator he didn't feel he had an opportunity to walk away from the situation but it ended with them shaking hands and the commissioner agreeing to go on a ride-along with an officer. Arreola did not want to file a report and the investigator determined the complaint unfounded.