Racial slurs at Flagler Courthouse prompt terminations, retirements

Sheriff says inappropriate workplace behavior will not be tolerated

Deputy John Freshcorn and Sgt. John Bray were disciplined after an internal investigation by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy John Freshcorn and Sgt. John Bray were disciplined after an internal investigation by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. (Photo courtesy FlaglerLive)

BUNNELL, Fla. – Reports of racial slurs, unbecoming behavior, misconduct and poor supervision of Flagler County Sheriff's Office employees assigned to provide security at the courthouse led to the termination of one deputy, a sergeant facing possible termination, and a written reprimand and transfer for a commander, the Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

An additional deputy is under investigation for alleged use of offensive language.

"Racism and racist comments have no place in law enforcement or the Flagler County Sheriff's Office and will not be tolerated," Sheriff Rick Staly wrote in a statement.

Deputy John Freshcorn was served notice of termination; Cmdr. Brian Pasquariello was given a written reprimand and transferred to the jail; and Sgt. John Bray retired while under investigation and facing termination. All three were veteran employees, FlaglerLive reported.

Staly also ordered an additional internal investigation of another deputy for his alleged use of inappropriate and offensive language.

Staly noted that the investigation was hampered by court administration employees who refused to give statements and could not be compelled to assist since they were not employees of the department.

The Sheriff's Office investigation found the following policy violations: 

Sgt. Bray 

1. Unsatisfactory or incompetent performance 
2. Unbecoming conduct 
3. Moral character
4. Behavior and language 
5. Courtesy and respect 

Bray, who had already entered the state retirement system's DROP program, has agreed to retire Sept. 4. 

Deputy Freshcorn 

1. Untruthfulness 
2. Unbecoming conduct 
3. Moral character 

Freshcorn has been relieved of all duties and has 10 days to appeal his termination.

Cmdr. Pasquariello was cited for unsatisfactory performance and served with a written reprimand. Pasquariello was also transferred to the jail, effective immediately.

Allegations against Deputy Edwin Velaquez were not sustained, but he announced that he would retire on Sept. 11.

As a result of the shakeup, Cmdr. Louis Miceli was transferred to take over supervision of Courthouse security and Sgt. Kim Davis, a patrol and internal affairs supervisor, was transferred to supervise courthouse deputies and civilian staff.

Staly also ordered that all courthouse employees undergo remedial human diversity training. 

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