Mount Dora residents pack meeting to discuss controversies surrounding police department

MOUNT DORA, Fla. — Mount Dora residents are packing a meeting to voice their concerns about issues 9 Investigates has uncovered, which led to the chief’s departure.

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It all started last month when Channel 9 uncovered that the use of force seen here during a traffic stop was never investigated. In that case, the suspected drunken driver was let go because the officers didn’t want to do the paperwork involved with a DUI arrest.

Police Chief Brett Meade launched a review of the incident after Channel 9′s investigative team started asking questions.

Meade has since resigned, citing differences with the city manager.

READ: Mount Dora police chief announces resignation

Now, Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones has learned a police dispatcher who was just fired because of an unrelated incident is fighting to get her job back, saying the department mishandled the investigation.

The biggest question residents will likely want answered at Tuesday’s meeting is why the city can’t keep a police chief. Meade was the third in the position in less than three years, all of them leaving on the heels of controversy discovered by Channel 9′s investigative team, such as the case with the dispatcher alleging the department mishandled her investigation.

Krystal Beasley, an employee with the Mount Dora Police Department for seven years, said she was adamant during an interview with internal investigators that she never violated department policy.

READ: Man slammed into car window by Mount Dora officer stunned to learn incident wasn’t investigated

In the filed grievance, she alleges the city, its police department and internal affairs failed to comply with its own policies and procedures during the investigation that led to her termination.

Beasley was accused of giving police information to a man she was having an affair with, leading to a chaotic scene at his home described by one of the responding officers.

“I am humiliated that this was brought to my job, but I did nothing wrong here,” Beasley said.

READ: Records: Mount Dora officers arrested suspected drunk drivers on lesser charges to avoid paperwork

Beasley filed a step-one grievance to get her job back, and her direct supervisor determined the complaint wasn’t credible and said the department didn’t follow procedures, impacting Beasley’s due process.

Beasley said that based on his decision, she should have been rehired.

However, the interim police chief stopped that, telling the city manager in a memo that the supervisor who reviewed the grievance had no authority to overturn the termination.

READ: Police communications manager fired over alleged policy violations

Further complicating this, the interim chief has asked the city manager to determine if Beasley can get her job back because, in that initial grievance, she raised concerns about how the former and now interim police chief handled her investigation.

The city hasn’t responded to repeated calls, texts or emails seeking comment.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.