Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three St. Petersburg police employees lose their jobs after internal investigations

ST. PETERSBURG — Two police officers and another employee lost their jobs Thursday after a St. Petersburg police administrative board found they violated various department policies in separate incidents.

The board, chaired by St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon, fired Officer Mehmedin Karic, who struck and killed a man in a wheelchair with his police cruiser, and information technology employee Anthony Neese, who admitted to damaging a department laptop during a fight with his wife.

Another officer, Alex Falcon-Molina, resigned rather than face sanctions after the board found him responsible for a series of violations, including missing court-related matters.

Harmon said there are people in every organization who don't follow the rules.

"That's the reason we have these things," Harmon said. "To hold people accountable."

• • •

Karic, 26, was speeding in his police cruiser about 4:20 a.m. Feb. 19 when he hit and killed Harold Fleming, 45, who was crossing 38th Avenue N at 66th Street in a wheelchair. Karic's cruiser was moving at 61 mph when the accident happened, police said. The speed limit there is 40 mph.

In the 20 minutes before the accident, Karic was driving more than 80 to 90 mph while en route to a call in the same area, police said. He also wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Karic pleaded guilty to a careless driving citation in June, and was fined $1,000, ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and had his driver's license suspended for six months.

He was fired for violating traffic laws and for driving carelessly.

• • •

Neese, 46, an application support specialist in the department's information and technology division, was found responsible for damaging a Police Department laptop at his home during an argument with his wife. A subsequent investigation found that Neese had used the laptop to view pornography, police said.

He reported the damaged laptop to his supervisor May 17, the day after he threw the computer down a flight of stairs onto a concrete floor at his home during a fight with his wife, police said. No criminal charges were filed as a result of the argument, police said.

• • •

Falcon-Molina, 27, was accused of failing to appear for a state attorney's office investigation related to a criminal case with which he was involved. He had previously received warnings and suspensions for failing to show up for other court- and noncourt-related matters, police said.

He was also accused of violations related to two incidents from March 17 — one in which he was "unnecessarily aggressive and discourteous" to a man, and another in which he failed to report seeing another officer throw a child's cellphone underneath a vacant house.

During an investigation of the latter incident, Falcon-Molina claimed he was testing Officer Gabriele Ritzheimer to see if she would "do the right thing" and tell the child where to find the phone, police said. Ritzheimer was the subject of a separate misconduct investigation.

Falcon-Molina later admitted that his answers to the board's questions were not completely forthright and resigned before the board could decide whether to suspend or fire him.

• • •

The board also cleared two vice and narcotics detectives who had been accused of kicking a drug suspect who died a few days after his arrest.

The detectives, whose names were redacted from a department memo because they work undercover, arrested Anthony "Tony" Welch Sr. while serving a search warrant Jan. 6.

Welch, 42, later complained that the detectives had kicked him during his arrest. On Jan. 10, after Welch's release from jail, he was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital and complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. He phoned the Police Department's internal affairs division from the hospital and reasserted his claims that the officers had kicked him. He died a few hours later.

An autopsy found that Welch died from natural causes resulting from a pre-existing condition, police said.

Times staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8321.

Three St. Petersburg police employees lose their jobs after internal investigations 08/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 3, 2012 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.