Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fired in wake of DUI scandal, former Tampa officer asks for job back

TAMPA — Tampa police Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who was fired late last month following a DUI arrest authorities described as a set-up, is challenging his dismissal and has formally requested to be reinstated and paid back salary.

A Police Benevolent Association grievance on his behalf dated Oct. 9 asserts that the city did not have just cause to fire him, and that the discipline was "arbitrary, capricious, excessive and not progressive in nature."

The grievance says Fernandez denies he violated city policies.

He was fired Sept. 27 following an internal investigation of a Jan. 23 drunken driving arrest outside Malio's steak house in downtown Tampa.

The arrest came during the second week of a contentious civil defamation trial pitting Bubba the Love Sponge Clem against radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt.

According to state investigators who looked into it, a paralegal from the law firm of Adams & Diaco, which was representing Clem, lied about where she worked and bought several drinks for Tampa lawyer C. Philip Campbell, who was representing Schnitt.

All the while, the paralegal was calling and texting her bosses. Those bosses included lawyer Adam Filthaut, a close family friend of Fernandez.

Filthaut kept the DUI supervisor informed about the drinking at Malio's as police officers waited outside. The pair exchanged more than 90 texts, and Fernandez knew exactly when Campbell was leaving the bar.

About 10 p.m. that night, Fernandez pulled Campbell over as Campbell drove the paralegal's car. Another officer arrested Campbell after he declined to complete a field sobriety test.

Prosecutors later dropped the DUI charge against Campbell.

In firing Fernandez, the Tampa Police Department said he lied and most likely destroyed evidence about the incident.

"Sgt. Fernandez lost his impartiality and professionalism in dealing with this case," Chief Jane Castor said then.

He had worked on the force for 19 years and earned an annual salary of about $92,500.

In the wake of his firing, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office dropped a dozen DUI cases in which Fernandez would have been an important figure or essential witness.

Fired in wake of DUI scandal, former Tampa officer asks for job back 10/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pepin daughters to take on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Human Interest

    About seven years ago, Tom Pepin and his four daughters stood at 12,000 feet, overlooking the Colorado Rockies during an outward bound survival training mission.

    From left, Christina Pepin, Lauren Pepin (Tom’s Wife), Cassie Pepin, Allie Pepin, Bella Pepin and Tom Pepin take a break during an outward bound survival training mission in Colorado.
  2. Music, memories, friendships lend energy to 'Senior Prom'

    Aging

    RIVERVIEW — Mesmerizing music mixed with the mingling of friends to energize and engage a congregation of old souls Thursday (June 22).

    Louise Goff of Brandon does line dances during the annual Senior Prom hosted by Hillsborough County Aging Services at the Regent in Brandon.
  3. Tampa's two 'Olivias' maintain friendship as they vie for Miss Florida

    News

    TAMPA — Olivia Butler, referring to a Biblical passage, assesses her burgeoning friendship with Olivia Fiss as "iron sharpening iron."

    Olivia Butler, left, and Olivia Fiss are two friends who are competing together in the Miss Florida pageant as Miss Tampa and Miss St. Petersburg.
  4. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times