Sgt. Ray Fernandez testifies during the MJ vs. Bubba the Love Sponge trial
Tampa, Florida- It was a difficult and disappointing announcement for Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.
"Honest courageous and fair. Those are the words I often use to describe the men and women of the Tampa Police Department."
But the chief says those are not the traits longtime TPD Sgt. Ray Fernandez displayed during and immediately after the DUI arrest of attorney Phil Campbell that happened amid the infamous M.J./Bubba shock jock trial.
Campbell alleges the DUI arrest was set up by apposing council.
"Starting with how the initial tip was handled, to the loss of evidence after the arrest, this arrest violates many of the principals that are the foundation of our organization," said Chief Castor as she explained the decision to terminate Fernandez.
According to Chief Castor, the choice came with new information brought to light as part of the ongoing FBI investigation into the stop and civil rights violations.
"Sgt. Fernandez allowed a personal friend to exploit his official authority, which led to the DUI arrest," she said.
"Stunned!" That was the reaction of Chip Purcell, the attorney representing the now terminated sergeant.
"He's very deeply hurt. He doesn't feel like he was treated fairly by the process," said Purcell.
But Castor says Fernandez was provided due process misleading her and others during the investigation.
John Fitzgibbons, the attorney representing Phil Campbell in his DUI arrest, provided a written statement Friday that said:
"The dominoes are starting to fall. We are beginning to see that those involved in the setup arrest of Phil Campbell are facing the consequences of their actions. This case is far, far, from over."
Sgt. Fernandez will next appeal his termination, but the chief says it's unlikely he will win back his job.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News