Domestic violence charge dropped against Orlando officer

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

An Orlando police officer with a troubled past is no longer charged with domestic battery, but the officer is still facing a felony for tampering with evidence.

Danny Sidders, who was initially placed on administrative leave, was put back on the job four days after bonding out in November.

Prosecutors dropped the battery charge against Sidders, who was arrested for a second time in November on charges of beating up his girlfriend.

However, Sidders is still facing a charge of tampering with evidence on a different domestic violence charge involving one of his ex-wives.  In that case, Sidders is accused of violating a judge's order that said he was not to have firearms while off-duty.

The Orlando Police Department said Sidders asked a fellow officer to remove a gun from his pantry before the jail did a pre-home confinement search.

Sidders' lawyer, Michael Lafay, said there is a lack of evidence in the tampering case, too.

“There is no order prohibiting officer Sidders from carrying or possessing a firearm, period,” said Lafay.

WFTV obtained the records and found that Circuit Judge Roger McDonald initialed the paragraph allowing Sidders to have a firearm because of his work as a police officer and designating as not applicable or N/A the section that called for a surrender of all firearms.

WFTV was also told the judge never ordered a ban on off-duty firearms from the bench.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said that could very well end the tampering charge.

“Not only could the foundation of that charge crumble, it should crumble,” said Sheaffer.

Lafay told WFTV he believes the OPD wants to fire Sidders because of his long history of problems with the department.  

Lafay said witnesses to the incident gave sworn statements that Sidders restrained his ex-girlfriend, but didn’t beat her up.

"There were independent witnesses and the independent witnesses said, indeed under oath, that Sidders restrained the other person and that's all he did," Lafay said.

Sidders has been investigated by his department seven times for various issues, including allegedly stealing insurance money that was a reimbursement for repairs to his patrol car.