St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR (right) opposes body cameras. Strongly. Wonder why? Our City and County Commissioners need to budget for body cameras in our next budgets.
The criminal theft case of State of Florida v. JOHN BRAMAN is being investigated by the office of 7th Circuit State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA (left). Mr. LARIZZA, kindly illuminate, elucidate and enlighten Sheriff SHOAR about the evidentiary value of body cameras.
St. Augustine Record
Posted January 31, 2017 10:07 am - Updated January 31, 2017 10:14 am
Body camera catches 'thieving idiot' deputy stealing money
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida sheriff's deputy has resigned after body camera video apparently showed him taking money from a man's wallet while arresting him on suspicion of DUI.
John Braman stepped down Monday after body cam video of the Aug. 1 incident clearly showed the deputy going through what appears to be a wallet and tossing something out. The wallet is put in an evidence pouch and a $100 bill is visible nearby.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says they've had several complaints recently about Braman stealing money from the wallets of people he arrested. Chitwood calls Braman a "thieving idiot."
Attorney Flem Whited tells the Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/2jQqfro ) the video surfaced in a case involving one of his clients. He notified investigators.
A phone number wasn't available for Braman.
You can't fix stupid.
Sheriff: Video shows 'thieving idiot' Volusia deputy stealing cash
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at 1:32 PM
Updated Jan 31, 2017 at 10:26 PM
By Frank Fernandez
Patricio G. Balona
A body camera video released Monday shows a deputy taking two $100 bills from a man's wallet and tossing the money in the patrol car's trunk before arresting him and charging him with DUI.
Volusia County sheriff's deputy John Braman, who resigned Monday afternoon, is under investigation after a defense attorney turned over a video showing him stealing money from a driver, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Monday in a phone interview. The State Attorney's Office released the video.
"He represents an infinitesimal number of bad cops around the country but when this gets played in the news it makes everyone who wears the badge have to defend themselves against the actions of this idiot. And that's what he is, a thieving idiot," Chitwood said.
The body camera video shows a person identified as Braman going through what appears to be a wallet and tossing something out. The wallet goes into an evidence pouch. Nearby a $100 bill is visible. The incident was during a traffic stop and arrest Aug. 1.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office over the past several months received several complaints about Braman stealing money from the wallets of DUI prisoners he was processing, Chitwood said.
Braman, 33, could not be reached for comment. The former deputy was lauded for his bravery when he and another deputy were shot by a man they were arresting in 2011 in Deltona. Corey Reynolds shot Braman in the right shoulder and left arm and grazed deputy John Brady in the shoulder. The wounded deputies managed to disarm and arrest Reynolds, who is now in prison.
Braman, an eight-year deputy, was paid $60,000 in 2016.
Chitwood said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did a great job slowing the video down so investigators could see what Braman was doing and the bills Braman took.
"You can clearly see the big faces of Ben Franklin on them," Chitwood said.
The video arose from an Aug. 1 stop Braman made in Ormond Beach. Braman arrested Thomas French, 30, during the stop and charged him with DUI first offense, according to a report. French pleaded no contest on Dec. 9 to a reduced charge of reckless driving and was placed on six months probation.
The latest accusations, while being the most serious, are not the first time Braman has been the focus of internal investigations. Braman got in hot water last year for failing to show up in court for some of his cases, an internal affairs report shows.
Flem Whited, a Daytona Beach attorney who specializes in defending DUI cases, said the video surfaced last year in a case involving one of his clients. Whited said he brought the body cam video to the attention of investigators.
"We get the video in discovery and he's leaning over in the trunk of the car and pulls out the guy's wallet and pulls out two one- hundred-dollar bills. Throws those in the trunk of his car. He puts the wallet back in and closes the trunk," Whited said.
Whited said in the phone interview that while he gets frequent complaints from clients that their money has been stolen this is the first case where there is a video backing that up.
"This is the first one of those for me in 35 years," Whited said.
Another attorney who handles DUI defense, Kip Miller, said he received a call on Monday from a woman who wants to withdraw her plea in a DUI case after her arrest by Braman.
Miller said Braman has a long list of training he presents at trials to support his testimony in DUI cases.
"He was what I considered a very experienced DUI officer," Miller said.
According to an internal affairs report reviewed on Monday, the Sheriff's Office learned of Braman's failure to respond to subpoenas in July when the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notified the agency.
Braman had failed to attend a driver's license hearing in April regarding a DUI case. Braman's no-show resulted in the DUI suspect's license being re-instated, investigators said.
When investigators started looking into the April 2016 case, they discovered that Braman had previously been reprimanded for not showing up to traffic court hearings, documents show.
Investigators noted that in May 2015, Braman was given written counseling for missing two court hearings. Then on Oct. 26 of that same year, Braman again received written counseling for missing several court hearings. And for a third time in 2015, Braman got a verbal reprimand for missing four court hearings. On Feb. 10, 2016, Braman got a letter of reprimand for missing two more court hearings.
After each action, Braman was advised that continued violations of not showing for court would result in progressive discipline, the report noted. In interviews with investigators, Braman admitted having received the subpoena for the April hearing but that he just didn't go, the report states.
"I didn't properly mark the subpoena in my calendar so the day of the subpoena I didn't even know that I didn't go until later on," Braman explained to investigators.
On the prior disciplinary actions against him, Braman was asked if there was a specific reason why he didn't show up for the court hearings.
"I don't have an excuse for it, really," Braman is noted as answering IA investigators.
Even after he was reprimanded in February 2016, Braman missed thee traffic court hearings. A sheriff's captain alerted IA investigators about the missed July court appearances, the report said. Attending traffic hearings is part of a deputy's duties.
Braman missed appearances on July 14 and 15, records show.
Braman told investigators he missed the court hearing because he was having difficulty with child care for his special needs stepson, documents state.
In the July 14 case, Braman informed the clerk eight minutes after the hearing started that he would be late.
"Due to an unforeseen child care issue, I'm unable to attend court today," Braman wrote the clerk. "Please have all my cases today dismissed."