On February 12, 2019 (Lincoln's Birthday), I looked St. Augustine Beach's then Chief of Police, ROBERT HARDWICK, in the eye and said, "I know when you're Sheriff you're going to take JEREMY BANKS to the Grand Jury."
HARDWICK replied, "I don't know if I want to be Sheriff."
I repeated my statement, word fore word, "I know when you're Sheriff you're going to take JEREMY BANKS to the Grand Jury."
HARDWICK replied, "I'm trying to figure out how to do it."
HARDWICK and I talked during a meeting of the St. Augustine Beach City Commission.
HARDWICK has now been Sheriff of St. Johns County since January 2021.
Time's up, Sheriff.
So at the second of two mandatory public budget meetings this month, on September 20, 2022, I share that background with our County Commissioners, asking how much money is in the County budget for Sheriff's cold case investigations.
- No response from estimable St. Johns County Office of Management and Budget Director Jesse Dunn.
- Dunn referred to a Sheriff's budget document that is apparently not in the thick bound County budget.
- No documents received from Dunn, and no answers, as of 11:20 AM on the day after the September 20, 2022 final budget meeting.
- No response from Sheriff HARDWICK.
I told our St. Johns County Commissioners that We, the People expect Sheriff HARDWICK to keep his promise.
No wife beater belongs on the Sheriff's payroll.
No one who killed his girlfriend belongs on the Sheriff's payroll.
Deputy JEREMY BANKS is still on the payroll, driving a Sheriff's car, with a gun and badge.
Sheriff HARDWICK has avoided speaking with me, other than "hello" since becoming Sheriff.
A friend watching his September 6, 2022 performance mildly said, "He doesn't like you." Two weeks later, I saw that he was staring at me with an intense stare of hared, as I left the podium after questioning his commitment to resolving cold cases like State of Florida v. JEREMY BANKS, which has never been presented to a Grand Jury, despite probable cause being found d that BANKS murdered Ms. O'Connell by two (2) respected judges -- St. Johns County Court Judge Charles Tintin and United States District Court Judge Brian J. Davis.
Pray for Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK.
We'd expected great things from him. He's an 82nd Airborne Division combat veteran, like my late father, for whom the South Jersey Chapter of the 82nd ABN DIVN ASSN is named, the "CPL Edward A. Slavin Chapter."
Sheriff HARDWICK, we expect you to honor your oath, from this day forward.
As Senator Robert F. Kennedy said, "It is not enough to allow dissent, we must demand it, for there is much to dissent from."