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Jacksonville officer sentenced in card game confrontation

Officer Tommy Bailey convicted of improper exhibition of firearm

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A Jacksonville Sheriff's officer accused of threatening an unarmed man at gunpoint outside an Orange Park poker room and convicted of a misdemeanor weapons charge was sentenced last week in Clay County court.

Officer Tommy Lee Bailey was sentenced to one year of probation and community service, and was ordered to take anger management classes.

Bailey, 64, who was originally charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was instead found guilty in May of a lesser charge of improper exhibition of a firearm.

Bailey was placed on leave following his arrest and remains suspended without pay from the Sheriff's Office.

The conviction stems from a Dec. 29, 2016, confrontation outside Best Bet in Orange Park, during which Bailey, who was off duty, pulled a gun on another poker player.

A witness stated she was walking into the business when she heard Bailey challenge the other man: "You have a problem with me?"

She said Bailey then pulled a handgun from his ankle holster. She recalled seeing him cock the weapon and then point at the other man, whose back was turned at the time.

The victim gave a similar account. He stated he was walking to his car when he heard Bailey speak and turned around to find a gun pointed at him. "I'll blow your [expletive] head off," he remembered hearing.

Bailey had left by the time Orange Park police arrived. But when he returned to collect his phone, he told investigators he was acting in self-defense when he drew the weapon.

According to court documents, Bailey said the incident unfolded after the other man belittled him at the poker table. He said the other man followed him to the parking lot and that's when things escalated.

Surveillance video showed Bailey cashing out and leaving the casino around the same time the victim walked out. He was seen pulling an object from his ankle and raising it as both men left the frame.

While the incident unfolded in December 2016, Bailey was not arrested until April 21, 2017, after prosecutors had the opportunity to review evidence in the case.


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