OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins has no intentions of resigning from his leadership role or dropping out of the race for Florida House District 42 despite being charged with one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer. That’s according to his spokesperson, Christina Johnson, who is representing the Republican in his race for the Legislature.
“Commissioner Hawkins will continue to serve in his position as Commissioner and absolutely continue his bid for House District 42. These politically motivated attacks will not distract him from running a campaign based on his record of principled and community-based leadership. We are confident once the facts of this case are brought forward Commissioner Hawkins will be exonerated,” Johnson said in a statement.
Hawkins said nothing as he left jail on bond, but it’s what he was caught saying on body camera video at a Turnberry Reserve Homeowner’s Association meeting in November that led to the charges.
Hawkins can be seen on video showing a badge and stating he is with the sheriff’s office. Hawkins is one of nine people in Osceola County designated as a “special deputy,” which carries no arresting powers.
“You’re about to get arrested,” Hawkins is heard saying moments before a security officer was taken away in handcuffs. Battery charges against that security officer, Ailyn DePena, were later dropped.
An investigator with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement wrote in Hawkins’ arrest warrant that the commissioner “falsely assumed or pretended to be a Sheriff,” noting he was “not a resident of Turnberry Reserve and was attending the HOA election as an Osceola County Commissioner.”
Hawkins said in a statement that he came to the November board meeting “ready to assist” in his role as a special deputy, due to concerns about the large, contentious crowd that had gathered in hopes of voting in a new HOA Board of Directors.
It all stems from concerns about the now-fired property manager, Sherry Raposo, who owns Management 35 Firm. 9 Investigates exposed Raposo hired her ex-cop-turned-felon boyfriend, Joseph Conover, to work security within the community. Both Conover and Raposo are facing charges in connection with running an unlicensed security firm.
© 2020 Cox Media Group