Corrections deputy canned after coffee thrown on inmate

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office fired deputy Nov. 12 after criminal & internal investigations

File photo (WJXT 2019)

PALATKA, Fla. – Putnam County Sheriff Homer “Gator” DeLoach has fired a corrections deputy accused of splashing hot coffee in the face of an inmate and then filing a misleading report about the incident.

Corrections Deputy Franklyn Batchelor was suspended last month after an Oct. 8 incident involving an inmate who was serving breakfast in the jail. Batchelor was walking past when a door on the food cart swung open and bumped into him, spilling coffee on his uniform. In retaliation, investigators found, the deputy threw a pot of hot coffee in the inmate’s face.

Afterward, medical staff checked out the inmate, who was not injured.

Batchelor’s superiors ordered a criminal investigation into the incident, which found probable cause to charge him with battery. The findings were then forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review. An administrative review also found that Batchelor’s report documenting the incident did not square with witness statements and surveillance video.

Following the investigations, the deputy’s supervisor recommended he be terminated on the grounds that he used unnecessary force and wasn’t truthful about the incident. A separate panel arrived at the same conclusion, and Sheriff DeLoach terminated him Nov. 12.

Copies of the investigations’ findings have been provided to the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, which oversees certifications for Florida’s law enforcement officers.