Internal documents detail Jacksonville cop's checkered track record

By Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Internal affairs reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shed more light on the background of a police officer who is scheduled to have a pretrial hearing later this month on a battery charge.

Officer Tim James is charged with beating a handcuffed teen, 17-year-old Elias Campos, in the back of his patrol car in April 2017. Last week, the State Attorney’s Office released some of the evidence it plans to introduce in its case against James, including a police interview with Campos, photos showing injuries to his face and blood in the back seat of the patrol car, and surveillance video of the incident.

Following James’ arrest last June, the I-TEAM obtained a concise version of the officer’s employment history with the Sheriff's Office, which began in January 2014.  Since then, James has been the subject of 11 internal affairs investigations, two of which involved traffic crashes. Those investigations resulted in four written reprimands, two suspensions and formal counseling on two occasions.

In October 2015, a complaint filed by a JSO assistant chief accused James of failing to adequately control a prisoner. According to the investigative report, James had arrested a man who was extremely intoxicated, and brought him to the jail for booking. The report said that once the suspect was inside the jail’s sallyport, he managed to slide his pants down to his knees, and then stepped out of them, leaving him naked. The complaint was sustained and James was given formal counseling.

James received a level one written reprimand in May 2016 for a violation of the agency’s social media policy and unbecoming conduct. An internal complaint received a month earlier alleged that James made five Facebook posts in January and February of 2016 that violated the policy.

"Someone just learned a hard lesson about not showing your [expletive] in Jacksonville. 3 felonies 2 misdemeanors and an (expletive) whoopin to boot. Lol. I love my job," James wrote in the first questionable post in January.

The next month, he posted again: "Yep It’s that kinda night already. Someone’s getting a size 13 boot to the [expletive] tonight. I can feel it.” A post the following day read: "JSO. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap." 

According to the investigative report, James acknowledged writing the posts, but did not believe they cast a negative light on himself or the agency. The complaint was sustained, and he received a reprimand.

The next complaint in James’ personnel history involved a citizen complaint of unnecessary force. According to the internal affairs report, James was working off-duty at a Pearl Jam concert at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in April 2016, alongside his now-wife, officer Kathleen James, who was listed in the report as Kathleen Camacho-Deck. 

Camacho-Deck was called over to investigate an incident involving two concert-goers.  A woman had accused a man of spilling beer on her, biting her on the shoulder and hitting her on the back of the head. According to the report, James escorted the man from his seat, and as the man resisted, James used a straight arm take-down technique to bring him to the ground and take him into custody. 

The man later accused James of using unnecessary force that injured his arm. Later, the man refused to cooperate with the internal affairs investigation, and James was cleared. According to court records, prosecutors dropped the battery charge against the concert-goer, and a judge dismissed other charges of resisting an officer without violence and disorderly intoxication.

Another 2016 internal affairs investigation of James involved allegations of a violation of firearms policy. According to that report, James reported on Nov. 2 that his patrol vehicle had been burglarized and his service weapon was taken.

James told the responding officer that he was getting ready to take his puppy to the veterinarian, and he put his handgun between the front seats of his car. James said the puppy ran away, and as he chased after it, he used the car’s remote to lock the doors.  After finding the puppy and going to the vet, he realized his gun was gone. A motorist found the gun the next day on the Old St. Augustine Road on-ramp to Interstate 295.

Later, James told internal investigators he had seen landscapers watching him while he was getting in and out of his car. He also said that while he had locked the car’s doors, he had left the rear windows down, and suspected that lawn workers reached in and unlocked the door. James admitted leaving his gun unsecured, and investigators sustained the violation of the firearms policy. He received a written reprimand and a two-day suspension.

James was removed from his patrol duties following his arrest last year.

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