Interim sheriff suspends 2 Marion County majors

OCALA, Fla. — Marion County interim Sheriff Emery Gainey suspended two majors Saturday morning in connection with the indictment of Sheriff Chris Blair, the Sheriff's Office said.

Maj. Don Maines, who oversaw the Bureau of Professional Standards, and Maj. Tommy Bibb, who oversaw the Bureau of Special Investigations, were placed on paid administrative leave during the transition period, Lt. Ryan Robbins said.

“There is no active MCSO internal affairs investigation being conducted related to these suspensions,” Robbins said. “The suspension period is unknown at this time as Sheriff Gainey is in the preliminary stages of his transition.”

The suspensions come two days after Sheriff Chris Blair was indicted on two counts of perjury in an official proceeding and one count of official misconduct stemming from a grand jury investigation into the use of excessive force.

Blair was booked into the Marion County Jail and posted his bail at about 3:30 p.m. Friday. He will not be paid during his suspension.

The indictment said Blair lied to a grand jury by giving false statements about the arrest of Dustin Heathman in June 2014, who was accused of firing multiple rounds at the Sheriff’s Office SWAT vehicle during a standoff.

“Sheriff Gainey knows these are tough decisions during very difficult times,” Robbins said. “But Sheriff Gainey is dedicated to the task of providing a stable and professional law enforcement agency for the citizens of Marion County.”

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