PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach and Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill appear to be at odds.
During Thursday night’s Palatka City Commission meeting, DeLoach spoke to the commission, asking Hill to resign, accusing him of being unethical and intimidating police officers. The mayor says he’s done nothing wrong and wants to see a united community.
RELATED: Putnam County Sheriff DeLoach asks Palatka Mayor Hill to resign at commission meeting
On Friday, both the sheriff and mayor spoke with News4JAX.
DeLoach says the mayor is intimidating Palatka police officers at traffic stops and provided the commission with a packet of information he says supports his claims.
“The mayor has almost single-handedly completely destroyed the morale at the Palatka Police Department,” DeLoach said. “These poor officers feel betrayed, downtrodden and are afraid to do their job, frankly, from retribution of the mayor.”
Hill says he has been at police scenes in the past, but he says he’s never interfered with a case.
“In my younger legal career, yes. Looking at incidents where rights were violated from individuals. As of lately, on one occasion I went out to a scene,” Hill said.
Hill says he’s never intimidated an officer or done anything unethical, and he encourages the sheriff to pull any body camera footage that might suggest otherwise.
“You don’t have any complaints to anyone in the city of law enforcement officers saying that I have done anything to them,” Hill said.
DeLoach expressed concerns about Hill during a Putnam Republican Club meeting after being asked about gun violence in Palatka and within his jurisdiction of the county.
“During the presentation, it is my belief that a significant portion of the problem that occurred on the northside of the mayor and his interference with the police department,” DeLoach said.
Hill says it’s a false claim. Over the years, he has represented thousands of people in Palatka because he has been a practicing attorney for 22 years. Hill said if there was ever a conflict of issue that arose, he excused himself from a case.
DeLoach believes that he and the mayor don’t agree on practices for stopping crime. DeLoach says they have reduced crime on the northside after 32 shootings from January to February, with only one shooting so far in March. Hill says, the department’s practices are antiquated and need to be more interpersonal.
Hill says he doesn’t know why DeLoach is criticizing him now, but has filed complaints against the sheriff’s office for injustice.
“I filed claims against the sheriff’s office in appeal of terminations of multiple African American officers based on the fact that they are being treated differently in similar situations than white officers within the same organization and those go directly to the sheriff,” Hill said.
DeLoach says he wants the mayor to resign and that he is forwarding information to the Florida Commission on Ethics against Hill. Hill says he will cooperate with any claim made against him and that he is focused on uniting Palatka and Putnam County as a community.
It’s unclear when this complaint will be filed from DeLoach against Hill. Hill says he is not resigning and will continue to serve his community.