Fort Myers councilwoman, again, to request DOJ investigation into FMPD

Fort Myers Police Department

FORT MYERS, Fla. City Councilwoman Terolyn Watson is not finished asking federal investigators to look into the Fort Myers Police Department.

Watson plans to seek a roll-call vote during the April 3 city council meeting that, if it passes, would request a federal civil rights investigation into the department, according to a statement from the city.

The statement did not specify why Watson, who represents Ward 3, wants the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Fort Myers police.

But her request should come as no surprise.

“I think right now I stand more with the people in saying that we do need a Department of Justice investigation because a lot of these problems are so deep-rooted,” she said during the March 6 city council meeting. “These problems go deep. We have a lot of deep-rooted problems.”

Watson’s remarks came during the first council meeting following the release of a scathing report highlighting FMPD’s challenges. Following a lengthy debate, Watson proposed a failed motion to have a state or federal agency investigate the department.

Police Chief Derrick Diggs has requested a U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation of alleged misconduct highlighted in the report, which accuses officers of leaking search warrant information to drug dealers.

The $150,000 audit, completed by Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, was approved by city council members in 2016 after the DOJ offered to do a similar study for free.

This story is the latest in WINK News’ continuing series about the FMPD audit.