Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jury finds Brooksville police captain not guilty of battery

BROOKSVILLE — Jurors in the two-day trial of police Capt. Rick Hankins found the Brooksville Police Department's second-in-command not guilty Wednesday of a charge of misdemeanor battery that originated after a scuffle with another guest at a Christmas party.

The six-member jury deliberated for about 30 minutes before deciding that Hankins, 39, did not throw the initial punch at Fred Taclik while the two were on the patio at the home of Dr. Brian Kroll, a Spring Hill physician who hosted the December affair.

An 18-year veteran of the Police Department, Hankins took the stand Wednesday to refute the contention by Assistant State Attorney Phillip Hanson that he initiated the scuffle by throwing a "sucker punch" at Taclik's head. Rather, Hankins said, he was merely defending himself from a swinging fist that caused a minor scrape to his forehead.

Hankins' version conflicted with those of several witnesses who testified that others at the party had to pull the two apart in order to stop the brief fight.

Hankins, who grew up in Brooksville, told jurors that he has known Taclik, who works as a corrections officer in Sumter County, for 20 years and that he considered him a friendly acquaintance. He denied being upset with him on the night of the party.

"I didn't get the feeling there was anything wrong at all," Hankins said. "We had a good time."

In an effort to convince jurors that "the only issue in this case is self-defense," defense attorney Ellis Faught of Brandon spent considerable time zeroing in on what he considered inconsistencies in witness accounts.

Hankins joined the Brooksville police force in 1997 and was promoted to captain two years ago. His responsibilities include day-to-day management of the department and its employees.

The Monday after the party, Hankins submitted to Chief George Turner a memo offering his account of the incident, along with a photo of his scraped forehead and a statement from his wife that supported his account. The State Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrant in January.

Turner said Hankins was placed on restricted administrative duty that was lifted after an internal investigation. He remains on light administrative duty because of back and head injuries suffered last August when his city-issued vehicle was struck from behind.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@tampabay.com.

Jury finds Brooksville police captain not guilty of battery 05/21/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.