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Brooksville police chief suspends detective with checkered past

Detective Shawn Terry’s complaint record is the worst at the Brooksville Police Department. He has been reprimanded eight times in 10 years, and is under investigation.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2008)

Detective Shawn Terry’s complaint record is the worst at the Brooksville Police Department. He has been reprimanded eight times in 10 years, and is under investigation.

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville police Detective Shawn Terry has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Chief George Turner announced Thursday.

The chief would not say why the veteran detective is being investigated.

"Until the conclusion of the aforementioned investigation, neither the City nor the Police Department, through any of their agents or employees, will provide any additional information or comment on this matter," Turner said in a statement.

Terry is also the subject of a joint investigation by the State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway confirmed Thursday.

Ridgway said he could not comment on whether the investigation is linked to the Police Department's internal probe.

Terry has a checkered history. His complaint record is the worst at the Brooksville Police Department.

In a 10-year career, Terry's record includes 30 complaints and investigations, and eight reprimands. A number of the complaints involved excessive force during arrests and untruthfulness in sworn statements; most were ultimately dismissed.

Most recently, Terry was an investigator on a case involving Martin "Dan" Patrick, a prominent Brooksville businessman who was accused of being a co-conspirator in a Nigerian-style lottery scam that authorities say defrauded about a dozen people out of more than $1 million.

Patrick, 77, faced charges of forgery and illegal structuring of financial transactions. He was also accused of perjury in connection with statements he made about his finances in 2007 when he was going through a divorce.

Patrick was arrested May 5 after Brooksville police said they found evidence that he and Doris Siegel, a septuagenarian who allegedly duped her elderly friends and neighbors in the scheme, had agreed to split proceeds from the lottery deal.

Turner, however, said on Thursday that the investigation into Terry "has absolutely nothing to do with Dan Patrick or Doris Siegel."

The charges against Patrick were dropped this month because they were filed after the expiration of a three-year statute of limitations; the allegations mostly stemmed from a $175,000 loan Siegel made to Patrick in April 2006.

Patrick adamantly denied any involvement in the international lottery. He said he knew Siegel and that the two often lent each other money, but it was not nefarious in nature.

The day before his arrest, Patrick told the Times that he suspected Terry was looking for payback for a complaint Patrick filed with the FBI against Terry after Terry arrested him in January 2009. "Shawn Terry's trying to get something against me," Patrick said.

The case is pending, and Patrick is fighting the charges. The incident prompted Patrick to file a complaint with the FBI earlier this year alleging that Terry violated his civil rights and harassed him.

Patrick said FBI agents recently interviewed him about the incident and Terry's involvement. Federal officials also contacted the Brooksville Police Department seeking answers.

The status of the investigation is unknown. FBI officials have declined to comment.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Brooksville police chief suspends detective with checkered past 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 8:35pm]
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