Sheriff Daniels' order to arrest female officer under scrutiny

Clay County sheriff accused Cierra Smith of stalking

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who has accused a female corrections officer he admitted having a relationship with during his time at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office of stalking, is under scrutiny after he ordered a Clay County lieutenant to arrest the woman during a traffic stop in Oakleaf.

The I-TEAM has been investigating the arrest of Cierra Smith and specifically what happened in light of a document from the State Attorney's Office that states the undersheriff, chief and lieutenant "did not feel comfortable" with the arrest, feeling there was not probable cause.

Smith was later released without any charges. The incident report reads in part,

"I heard Sheriff Daniels come over the radio and instruct Sgt. Ruby to conduct a traffic stop... He believed if he stopped to engage Cierra, he would be exposed to imminent danger."

Smith also provided a written statement to the Clay County Sheriff's Office where she details her past relationship with Daniels. Smith wrote that Daniels' wife also following her during the night of the traffic stop, and that a truck pulled up "behind me taking pictures." Smith wrote the truck turned sideways and blocked her from exiting.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sheriff Daniels accuses female corrections officer of stalking him

As of Wednesday, Daniels' office has not responded to a request for comment. The sheriff has been in Washington, D.C., for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where he and members of the Clay County Sheriff's Office are honoring fallen Clay County Deputy Ben Zirbel, who died in the line of duty in 2018. A News4Jax crew that was at the event was told Daniels left early.

A spokesperson for the Clay County Sheriff's Office said Daniels is considering speaking publicly about this issue on Friday and is discussing it with his wife. 

The Florida Department Of Law Enforcement said it is in the initial stages of reviewing the matter. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has requested an FDLE investigation due to the number of agencies involved.

About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.