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Former Housing Authority security chief now facing criminal charges

TAMPA — The former public safety manager of the Tampa Housing Authority, who was fired in July over allegations that he pulled a gun on two men, is now facing criminal charges in connection with the incident.

A Hillsborough state attorney's investigation concluded with the arrest early Friday of David W. Queen, 53, on charges of false imprisonment, a felony, and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor.

The charges stem from a June 27 incident in which Queen, who later said he was following a lead on counterfeit Housing Authority checks, stopped two men who were leaving a private apartment complex near downtown Tampa called Oakhurst Square. He held the men at gunpoint, authorities allege.

Only one of the men had a criminal record. Karl M. Long was last convicted of a 2011 drug offense. The second man, Amori Newell, 29, is a former Navy combat medic who served four years in Iraq and is studying to be a physical therapist.

He thought Queen was a police officer.

"He was definitely on a power trip, absolutely," Newell said Friday, glad to learn of the charges.

Queen turned himself in at the Orient Road Jail just after 3 a.m. and was released less than two hours later after posting $2,500 bail, according to jail records.

He couldn't be reached for comment.

But in July, he told the Tampa Bay Times that he had unholstered his gun and held it in two hands, pointing it low as he approached the two. He wanted to talk to Long. His says he mistook Newell for someone else.

Queen worked for the Housing Authority for only a few months.

An internal memo noted that his actions "seemed well intentioned," but it concluded that he had no authority to investigate criminal activities, and Oakhurst wasn't part of his turf.

He was fired during a criminal investigation by the Tampa Police Department, his former employer. Two decades ago, Queen was a police sergeant. He resigned in 1993 and gave up his law enforcement certification amid disciplinary issues.

Newell couldn't help but wonder if the police background had delayed the filing of charges.

"I think, were it anybody else, then someone else would definitely have gone to jail, probably a lot sooner than this," he said.

Former Housing Authority security chief now facing criminal charges 10/04/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 12:32am]
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