ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A police officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office who is accused of pulling a gun on an unarmed man outside bestbet Orange Park in December has been placed on leave without pay.
Officer Tommy Bailey faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Though the incident happened several months ago, News4Jax has just learned that Bailey was arrested on April 21, when he was taken into custody by his own colleagues on a warrant out of Clay County.
It took months for Bailey to be arrested because the case was handed over to the state attorney's office for review. Prosecutors had to look at not only statements from witnesses and both parties, but also surveillance video of the parking lot.
According to an Orange Park Police Department report, a bestbet worker spotted Bailey, who was off-duty at the time, pulling a handgun from his ankle holster, cocking the weapon and then pointing it at a man's back in the bestbet parking lot.
The witness told police that the confrontation began at a poker table where the two men traded insults, and Bailey later followed the man out of the building.
News4Jax on Tuesday asked attorney Eric Friday, who specializes in carry and conceal laws, why Bailey was carrying the concealed weapon.
"Under 790.06 of the Florida statute, there's a list of places where concealed carry holders are not legally allowed to carry their firearms, and I will tell you that, in my experience, they generally comply with that list. But it does not apply to officers," Friday said.
That includes off-duty officers, according to Friday.
"Police officers are lawfully allowed to carry their firearm, basically anywhere in the state of Florida, unless federal law prohibits it, or unless their department policy tells them they can't carry it," he said.
News4Jax contacted bestbet, and learned it has the following policy: On-duty officers are allowed to have their weapon, but off-duty officers must let employees know if they want to carry their gun inside.
Bailey will remain on unpaid leave while the incident remains under investigation.