Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Accused of hitting woman, St. Petersburg police officer quits

ST. PETERSBURG — Before he served the city as a police officer, Kevin Hicks served his country as a soldier. As an Army National Guard cavalry scout in Afghanistan, his commander said Hicks displayed "high moral standards and common sense."

But authorities say those traits were lacking in December when Hicks became involved in a drunken street brawl that left Hicks shirtless, bloody and under suspicion. Witnesses said Hicks slugged a woman during the fracas.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office believed them. After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors charged Hicks with misdemeanor battery last month.

Hicks denied it and said he was the one who was attacked. He had been restricted to desk duty since the Dec. 21 incident. But once charged with a crime, the department intended to suspend him without pay.

Before that happened, Hicks resigned Monday. The 29-year-old was an officer for 16 months.

But the fight's not over yet. Hicks pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney said Hicks will contest the allegations.

"That's exactly what they are," said attorney Joseph Ciarciaglino Jr. "Allegations."

• • •

Kevin Hicks and a host of witnesses provided dozens of pages of statements to a detective. Here's the short version:

Hicks said his evening started out at the St. Petersburg Bowl with his sister and brother. By 2 a.m., they were at Durty Nelly's at 661 Central Ave, Hicks told investigators.

It was his fifth bar that night, Hicks said, and he had imbibed 10 to 12 alcoholic drinks.

Central Avenue was in chaos. Two women fought on the street.

When one of the women tried to back her car out, police said, she accidentally rolled over a man who was leaning his bicycle against her car, breaking his leg.

Witnesses said Hicks reached into the woman's car and took her cell phone, then said he was an officer and needed to call 911.

A friend of the driver, Rebecca Reed, 21, said she told Hicks to give it back and to use his own phone. Reed said Hicks hid the phone behind his back and said he was an "undercover cop." The two kept arguing.

Then Reed said Hicks punched her with his right hand.

Her left jaw was visibly swollen and red, the report said.

Then several men, Reed said, rushed Hicks.

Two days after the incident, Hicks told a detective that's not what happened.

Hicks said he went to help the bicyclist. He denied reaching into the car or taking anything.

Then, Hicks said, several men confronted him. He showed them his badge. But Hicks said he was punched and kicked to the ground. His shirt was torn off and he was left bleeding.

His brother, Andrew Hicks, backed up that account.

"I mean, you could tell that these guys were just out for blood," Kevin Hicks said. "They were just going to fight."

• • •

The woman who ran over the bicyclist was not cited. A police spokesman could not say why, but speculated she may not have been at fault.

No one was arrested for assaulting Hicks. But two men who police said admitted taking part in that night's brawling were arrested on charges they carried illegal brass knuckles.

Joseph Vanwart, 26, pleaded no contest Feb. 24 to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon and paid a fine.

Steven Kelly, 25, faces a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon. He told police he carried them for protection in a bad economy.

Hicks, a graduate of St. Petersburg Catholic High School, was charged with battery on Feb. 27. An internal police investigation is ongoing. A police spokesman would not say if a conviction would have led to Hicks' firing.

His attorney said Hicks was done with law enforcement.

"He's just moving on," said Ciarciaglino, general counsel for the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association. "This kid's a sharp kid with a lot of opportunities, and that's why he resigned."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

Accused of hitting woman, St. Petersburg police officer quits 03/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Sunny skies, warm temperatures to rule across Tampa Bay this week

    Weather

    After periods of heavy rain in some parts of Tampa Bay over the weekend, the region can expect sunny skies, and warm condition to prevail through the workweek.

    [10Weather WTSP]
  2. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?

    National

    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
  3. Whatever happened to the Zika epidemic?

    Health

    Remember Zika?

    The last time Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians about the potential threat of the mosquito-borne virus was in July, when he urged residents to still be vigilant against bug bites and standing water. At the time, doctors and researchers were bracing for what was supposed to be another active summer …

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting Zika. Cases of the virus are down dramatically in Florida.
  4. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.