Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arrest may bring lawsuit

Tension and rivalry between cops and firefighters isn't new, but wrongful arrest lawsuits between the two camps don't happen often.

Now, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Bill Nesmith intends to sue Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats. Nesmith alleges his March arrest following an argument with his wife was unjustified.

Nesmith, fire chief since 1996, referred questions to his attorney, John Trevena.

The Pinellas Sheriff's Office normally doesn't comment on potential lawsuits, but news Friday of the wrongful arrest claim in the Nesmith case drew sharp words.

"I think sometimes it's better to take the action that we did," Coats said, "rather than investigating injured or dead parties."

Deputies went to Nesmith's Indian Rocks Beach condo on March 1 after a domestic disturbance call. According to Nesmith's wife, he had accused her of "whoring around" and threatened to shoot her and himself.

"She's whacked," Nesmith said, according to an incident report. "I'm the Hillsborough County fire chief, for crying out loud."

A licensed semiautomatic pistol was found in Nesmith's county-issued vehicle. He was suspended for two days for violating county rules that prohibit employees from having firearms at work.

But prosecutors didn't charge Nesmith with aggravated domestic assault, saying he didn't have a weapon on him or in the condo.

In the intent-to-sue letter, Trevena charged that a SWAT team was sent to the condo.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Bordner said there was no SWAT team.

"He has a different agenda than we do," Bordner said, "and it's not always the truth."

Times staff writer Janet Zink contributed to this report. Will Van Sant can be reached at [email protected] or 727-445-4166.

Arrest may bring lawsuit 08/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.