CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Three Clay County Sheriff's Office corrections deputies have been fired after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct, the agency announced Thursday.
Deputy Austin Hatcher, Deputy Marcus Beard and Deputy Kory Clarida were at the center of a criminal investigation that began Aug. 5, 2018.
No criminal charges were filed as a result of the investigation, but an administrative investigation then began to see if the three had violated agency policies.
That investigation led to the three deputies being terminated from their employment with the agency.
“The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has a duty to provide humane treatment of inmates who are housed in the jail," Sheriff Darryl Daniels said. "To that end, our Department of Detention employees are expected to carry out the mission of the Sheriff’s Office in a professional manner that is reflective of the expectations of our citizens.”
Though the Sheriff's Office did not detail the exact circumstances that led to the firing of the deputies, News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said if they’re not charged criminally, that usually means the circumstances did not warrant charges but were serious.
"After a yearlong investigation, (it) simply means they’ve violated some type of administrative procedure or standard operating procedures that go against their rules and regulations," Jefferson said. "It had to be serious enough that to keep them employed would be detrimental to the department."
A mother of one of the deputies contacted News4Jax, saying her son was fired unjustly and it stemmed from “false accusations and hearsay by inmates." She said there’s no proof of the accusations and nothing was recorded on surveillance.
A man named Austin Hatcherm who said he worked for the Department of Corrections and is seen on his Facebook page in a Clay County uniform, posted a comment, which reads, in part:
"There is plenty of corruption on that whole agency. It’ll catch up with them sooner or later. All this is just weight lifted off my shoulders. They wonder why they can’t keep any good deputies now, hmm I wonder why?”
News4Jax is still looking to get copies of the deputies' employment files to get more details on the accusations that led to their firing.