Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Prosecutor will press ahead with battery case involving Brooksville police captain

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville police Capt. Rick Hankins will be formally charged with misdemeanor battery in connection with a fight at a Christmas party.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson said his office was in the process of filing the charge Wednesday. Simpson said he made the decision after reviewing an investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and consulting with his supervisor, Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway.

Simpson noted that multiple witnesses said Hankins, 39, punched Fred Taclik at the Dec. 21 party, hosted at the home of a Spring Hill physician.

"We decided one count of battery was appropriate given the evidence we had," Simpson said.

Hankins turned himself in last week after the Sheriff's Office got a warrant for his arrest. His attorney, Ellis Faught Jr. of Brandon, said Hankins denies the accusation.

"I am not surprised that this charge was filed, considering who the defendant is," Faught said. "We'll certainly do whatever is necessary to show he was not the instigator of this incident."

Police Chief George Turner said Hankins would be placed on restricted administrative duty pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal affairs investigation.

The investigation report released Wednesday sheds more light on what might have sparked the fight at Dr. Brian Kroll's home on Forest Wood Court in Spring Hill.

Taclik, who works as a corrections officer in Sumter County, told deputies that he and Hankins have known each other since high school, and that some 15 years ago Taclik's brother dated a woman who is now Hankins' wife. Taclik said he and Hankins were together in the screened lanai when Hankins brought up that subject, put his arm around Taclik and said, twice, "Your brother owes me."

Taclik said he replied: "You're married to her now, that was a long time ago, let it go."

Taclik said Hankins changed the subject and then without warning threw his beer bottle to the ground and punched Taclik on the left side of his head. The two men fell to the ground, and Taclik rolled onto Hankins. Taclik said he was about to punch Hankins, but Kroll and others pulled them apart.

Taclik said Hankins apologized, then left with his wife. Deputies were called about 1 a.m. and noted abrasions on Taclik's head and knee.

Kroll and four other witnesses said they saw Hankins punch or lunge at Taclik. Some said they heard Hankins apologize.

Emily Hankins gave a different account in a written statement.

She said she was standing by a bar on the patio with Kroll when she heard Hankins say, "Are you kidding me right now, Fred? Are you kidding me?" She turned and saw Taclik punch Hankins in the face, then heard the glass bottle break.

She said she heard her husband ask, "What the hell was that about, Fred?"

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