Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Career over for veteran St. Petersburg officer accused of DUI

ST. PETERSBURG — A veteran police officer who resigned last year after he was arrested on a DUI charge would have been fired had he not resigned, according to an internal police report released Thursday.

Officer James R. Griffis Jr., 45, resigned on Nov. 30 after nearly 21 years on the force. He quit after the Florida Highway Patrol arrested him Oct. 23 in Tampa on charges of DUI and DUI with property damage.

According to an internal St. Petersburg police report, Griffis' vehicle crashed into a chain-link fence and a concrete wall on a service road just off the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge around 4:15 p.m.

Paramedics reported finding beer cans near the vehicle. Griffis said they weren't his, according to the report, but the trooper and other witnesses believed he had been drinking before the crash.

His blood-alcohol level tested 0.163 and 0.161 percent, the internal report says. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired at 0.08 percent. Griffis was taken to Hillsborough County Jail and freed on $1,000 bail hours later.

He was placed on medical leave and ordered not to drink alcohol, the report said. He resigned seven days later. Records show the DUI case is ongoing.

St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon and a chain of command board found Griffis would have been fired for conduct unbecoming, abusing alcohol and unlawful conduct had he not resigned.

The disciplinary memo also cited Griffis' prior misconduct. Griffis received a temporary written reprimand last year for handcuffing his unruly 11-year-old son to his bed, according to police. The son was disrespectful, threatening to run away and wildly flailing his hands at his father at the time, police said. Prosecutors decided no criminal act took place and the Department of Children and Families called it an "isolated incident." The police department cited Griffis for using "poor judgment" in restraining the child with city equipment.

The chain of command board on Thursday also said it would have fired civilian police employee Nora Spiridon for "chronic inefficiency" had she not chosen to retire first, according to a report.

Career over for veteran St. Petersburg officer accused of DUI 01/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  2. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  3. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.
  4. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  5. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.