• Sanford officer fired for activating Taser while inmates cleaned patrol cars


    SANFORD, Fla. - Channel 9 has obtained internal investigation documents that show a Sanford police officer was fired for activating his Taser because he didn't like the way an inmate cleaned his patrol car.

    Officer Mickey Hinkley was placed on leave and investigators even recommended criminal charges after the incident in June.

    Reporter Kenneth Craig went through hours of recorded interviews where the inmate, Victor Rivera, described what happened behind the Sanford police station.

    "All I heard was the buzz, buzzing sound. So I flipped out and he just was like, 'Ha ha.' He basically started smiling," Rivera told investigators.

    Rivera, who is a work release inmate, was cleaning patrol cars with another inmate when the incident happened.

    "In my opinion, I really thought he was going to Tase me. I really thought he was going to Tase me," said Rivera.

    Both of the inmates told police that Hinkley confronted them over using tire shine on his patrol car, something Rivera said the officer didn't like.

    "I did hear him raise his voice a little bit, 'Why'd you put the tire shine on?' That caught my attention," said inmate Richard Tomlin.

    The men said Hinkley then pulled out his Taser, removed the cartridge and turned it on. The officer admitted to police that the Taser was activated.

    "I never intended to scare him. My whole intent was to spark test my taser," Hinkley told investigators. "I never made any comments to him or anything like that."

    The Sanford Police Department conducted a criminal investigation and recommended assault charges, but the State Attorney's Office decided not to charge him.

    The internal investigation into Hinkley included a series of other accusations against him from the same day as the Taser incident. Documents show several of those allegations were sustained, including a complaint that the former officer brought McDonald's to the Seminole County Jail and attempted to hand it to Rivera in a taunting manner.

    It is believed Hinkley intended for Rivera to violate jail rules by accepting gifts or gratutities, according to the investigation.

    Also included in those accusations were allegations that Hinkley would find Rivera after he was released from jail to violate his probation. That accusation was sustained.

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