Clermont police officer fired after prank rehired



CLERMONT, Fla. - For the second time in as many months, a fired Clermont police officer is back on the job Tuesday.

Monday will be Mark Edwards' first day back on the job as a Clermont police officer in nearly a year.

"I've missed it and that's what I love to do," Edwards said.

Edwards was let go because he was part of a prank caught on dash cam video last year by two fellow officers, including the driver of the car, Officer Marc Thompson.

Edwards was a passenger in Thompson's car when Thompson intentionally sped by a fellow officer to see if he could get her to pursue him.

"Had I said something, I don't know if he'd've slowed down, but when he jumped out and started laughing that was unexpected by all of us," Edwards said.

An arbitrator reinstated Edwards' job and said in his report it was clear retaliation by former Chief Steve Graham.

Edwards was one of six officers who had complained to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about Graham.

Several of those officers said they felt like targets. Each eventually resigned, retired or was fired.

"It's not fun, but we did what we felt was right," Edwards said.

Graham retired amid the controversy, and Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway stepped in and said he welcomes Edwards back to a new environment.

"Different atmosphere, a lot of changes, a lot of changes for the good," Broadway said.

Although attorney's fees for what it cost the city to go to court haven't been tallied yet, Edwards will be issued back payment for the last year he was off the job.

"Was this a waste of taxpayer money to go this direction?" asked WFTV's Renee Stoll.

"I would say that's part of the process; when a person is rewarded their job back through collective bargaining," Edwards said.