Mascotte police sergeant fired; Chief says he refused to cooperate in internal investigation


MASCOTTE, Fla. - A Mascotte police officer who told Channel 9 he was worried he was going to be fired for filing complaints against the chief has indeed been terminated, WFTV's Tim Barber found.

Chief Rolando Bonasco said Sgt. David Grice was fired for refusing to cooperate with an internal investigation.

Bonasco said Grice refused to cooperate during an internal investigation which was based on complaints launched by Officer Toni Hart.         

Hart accused Grice of bizarre behavior, saying he would park his patrol car facing hers and just watch her.

The department said it wanted to get to the bottom of the situation but couldn't because Grice wouldn’t cooperate.

Barber spent Wednesday going through nearly 60 pages of public records which accuse Grice of making Hart feel uncomfortable while she was working.

Hart told investigators, "It just seems like when I look at my rearview mirror, he'll be there."

When the department tried to get Grice's side of the story, detectives said he refused to cooperate.       

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said Grice should have cooperated, because law enforcement officers do not get the same due process rights that civilians do.

"He, the police officer, has to answer the questions, and he, the police officer, has to cooperate," said Sheaffer.

Hart did not make it through the Mascotte Police Department's probationary period due to other issues.

Records shows Grice was terminated for violating policy, but Sheaffer said he believes if Grice had just talked, he could have kept his job.