Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three Wakulla Correctional employees are fired and arrested

TALLAHASSEE — Three Wakulla Correctional Institution officers were arrested and fired this week after investigators said they falsified reports against inmates and needlessly used pepper spray against a prisoner.

The investigation started March 23 when the Department of Corrections' Office of Inspector General tipped off Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators.

Angered by a "disparaging" comment about her, officials say, Capt. Megan Dillard falsified 13 disciplinary reports against 13 inmates. The inmates lost some privileges and were transferred to a confinement dormitory, according to the FDLE.

During the transfer, officer Andrew Gazapian allegedly forced an inmate to the ground, though he wasn't being combative, and sprayed him with pepper spray. Gazapian, officials say, bit himself on the left arm and blamed his injury on the inmate in another false report.

Officials say the inmate was later accused of causing a disturbance in his cell and sprayed three more times. But investigators found no evidence of a disturbance and found reports about the inmate's actions, which they said were ordered by Maj. Joseph Garrison, to be false.

As a result of the investigation, The Corrections Department fired the employees and the FDLE arrested them on the following charges:

• Dillard, 31, of Tallahassee on 13 counts of official misconduct.

• Gazapian, 23, of Tallahassee, on charges of official misconduct, fabricating physical evidence and battery.

• Garrison, 39, of Crawfordville, on a charge of official misconduct.

Garrison, a 16-year employee who earned $57,000 annually, and Dillard, a 13-year employee who earned $41,000, were arrested in Wakulla. The FDLE ordered Gazapian, a three-year employee with a $31,000 salary, to turn himself in when he returns to Florida from an undisclosed location next week.

Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss thanked the Wakulla Correctional officers for having the courage to alert his agency about the incidents.

"As for the officers arrested today, I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior they are accused of," Buss said in a statement.

State attorney Willie Meggs will prosecute the case.

Katie Sanders can be reached at (850)224-7263 or

Three Wakulla Correctional employees are fired and arrested 07/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 7, 2011 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'


    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."