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St. Petersburg cop will remain on force despite DUI charge

ST. PETERSBURG — Anthony M. Green made two plea bargains seven months after police said he drunkenly crashed into two cars and drove away. One spared him from jail time.

The other spared his job as a St. Petersburg police officer.

Green, 30, was suspended Wednesday for six weeks without pay from the St. Petersburg Police Department, ordered to stay away from alcoholic beverages for five years and subjected to two years of random testing.

Those were the strict conditions that police Chief Chuck Harmon required to let Green keep his job.

"Officer Green agreed to these conditions in lieu of termination," the chief said.

Harmon said it's the most severe punishment — short of termination — that he's handed down in his nine years as chief.

"He is grateful to still be a member of the St. Petersburg Police Department," said Green's attorney, Rohom Khonsari.

Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said it was a lifeline offered to Green to salvage the career of a good officer with no prior disciplinary history. He has worked hard to make amends since his December 2009 arrest, including undergoing counseling, Proffitt said.

"Anthony realized he made a mistake from the beginning and he took full responsibility for his actions," said Khonsari, an attorney with the prominent Tampa firm of Cohen, Foster and Romine.

Green was arrested in December after St. Petersburg police said he left a party and hit two cars on Fourth Street N on his way home. Green didn't stop either time, police said, and was found sitting in his damaged car parked outside his Shore Acres home.

Tests showed his blood-alcohol level was as high as 0.179. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired at 0.08 or greater.

He settled the criminal case last month, pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage. He was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to a year of probation.

He also lost his driver's license for a year. But he'll be allowed to drive for business purposes, which will allow him to drive his police cruiser when he returns to work.

"He got the same thing anyone else would get," said Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Richard Ripplinger. "He was very cooperative."

The chain of command board memo released Wednesday said that Green was "forthright and remorseful throughout" the investigation.

Green graduated from Lakewood High School and the University of South Florida. He has been on the force since 2005.

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

St. Petersburg cop will remain on force despite DUI charge 08/11/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 11:00pm]
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