LARGO, Fla. - For the second time this week, a deputy from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has resigned rather than go before an Internal Affairs review board.
Sgt. Christopher Taylor resigned Wednesday after reviewing thousands of pages of documents over several days, according to authorities. As the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, Sgt. Taylor, a 14-year veteran, was supposed to testify under oath and answer questions. Instead, he chose not to.
On Monday, Deputy Michael Schiarrino also resigned instead of testifying.
Earlier this year, 10 News Investigators told you about the Pinellas County Narcotics Unit, which came under fire for multiple allegations. Deputies are accused of beating a drug informant at the Wing House along Ulmerton Road, posing as a Florida Progress Energy employee to do a drug surveillance operation on a man who had no drugs in his home, and recording over a surveillance tape that allegedly showed detectives illegally hopping a fence without a warrant to search for drugs.
Jerry Theophilopoulos is a defense attorney who represents the man whose property that was. He believes the deputies should not have been allowed to simply resign. "It was expected. I'm a little disappointed the sheriff accepted the resignations because I think, at the end of the day, these people need to be fired. Don't allow them to resign," he says.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he wasn't surprised at the resignations. He is disappointed in the allegations, but says his agency is taking action.
"Occasionally these things happen. And when they do, and we find out about them, we have to thoroughly investigate them and take the appropriate action. But it is not a reflection on the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as a whole or on our Narcotics Unit," he says.
The investigation is ongoing. The sheriff says four other deputies are set to face a review board next week.
There is no word yet on whether any criminal charges will be filed.