Fight between police chief, former chief prompts investigation

Internal Affairs investigates incident between Leonard Propper, Dave Stevens

Fight between Chief Leonard Propper,retired Chief Dave Stevens under investigation
Fight between Chief Leonard Propper,retired Chief Dave Stevens under investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The war of words between a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office chief and a retired JSO chief that turned into a fight is now being investigated by the department's Internal Affairs Division and the Integrity Unit. 

Chief Leonard Propper and retired Chief Dave Stevens got into a fight during a charity 5K run at the Jacksonville Landing in May.

According to this incident report, several people saw Propper shove Dave Stevens. Propper said he did it because he thought Stevens was going to hit him. The report said Stevens was angry about a comment Propper had made the night before at Capitol Grille.

During the encounter at the Landing, Propper was in uniform and Stevens was with his family. Stevens claimed Propper made a sarcastic comment and walked by.

According to the report, Propper called out to Stevens, saying, "Hey (expletive). You keep screwing with me and when you are out of uniform, I’m going to beat your (expletive)."

Propper then shoved Stevens in the face, cutting his lip. Propper told Internal Affairs he "shoved Stevens because he thought he was going to be assaulted."

These two men were once friends but they have been going back and forth for several months about a sponsorship deal. 

Stevens did not seek to press criminal charges filed. Instead, he wants to meet with  Sheriff Mike Williams and Propper in person.

Legal analyst Randy Reep, who is not affiliated with the case, said the allegations are serious. 

"This ultimately was a pushing and shoving kind of event, which is important for everyone to understand, that is what ... battery is," Reep said. "I am not suggesting that the police got easy treatment here. Not at all. I am just saying people need to understand we don't tolerate much around Jacksonville -- people physically putting their hands on other people."

This was not the first time that Propper has been accused of behaving badly. 

News4Jax obtained dashcam video from a man that Propper confronted in May 2013. Propper was off-duty, driving his personal car, but he got out and showed his JSO badge. Their conversation was recorded.

Propper: "How fast do you think you need to go on this road?"
Driver: "I had a..."
Propper: "Pull over right now and I will give you a $200 ticket, you understand me?"
Driver: "I had it pinned at 45, sir."

Later in the video, Propper pulled the man over again.

After that incident was investigated, JSO ordered Propper to mandatory counseling. 

Propper was also accused of getting into a fight with a fan at an Eagles’ concert at the Veterans Memorial Arena. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident.

Police said  the most recent incident at the Landing remains under investigation. 

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