Union calls for FMPD chief to resign over Nate Allen investigation
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The head of the local police union is calling for Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker to resign.
Union President Matt Sellers says Chief Baker lied during an internal investigation into the botched detainment of NFL player Nate Allen.
“There’s some significant problems with statements the police chief made.”
Sellers says if that was any other officer, they would have been suspended or fired.
Allen was detained in February, accused of exposing himself to an underage girl. Allen was cleared a few days later, and officers found he never committed the crime in the first place.
Union President Matt Sellers says he wants Chief Baker to step down or have the city take action.
In a newly released report, the chief said he learned there was a possible mistake with the Allen investigation around 8:30 p.m.
Officers had picked up Allen on a misdemeanor, meaning Allen should be released immediately. The internal investigation shows officers misread a statute, detaining Allen on what they thought was a felony charge. Since the victim was 16, the crime would have been a misdemeanor, an offense you can’t arrest on.
Baker says he called the captain of the detective unit, Duke Perry, nearly 10 minutes later, and had a 32 second conversation.
Baker says he told Perry that if this was “a misdemeanor, he needs to be released immediately.”
But Perry claims, that conversation never happened.
Investigators pulled phone records for the two, and Perry’s records show only a missed call from the chief at 8:40 p.m.
Perry says he didn’t call the chief back until 9:37 p.m., and the chief only explained to him “that an NFL player had been arrested and he needs to find out the details.”
The chief says several minutes later, Perry said it had “all been taken care of.” Allen wasn’t released until 10:25 p.m.
When investigators confronted Baker about the discrepancy, he said “I can’t explain it.”
We took the union’s concerns to Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. He says he has not read the full report.
“If we find out there are other misgivings in this investigation, we will deal with this accordingly,” said Henderson.
The union says they filed a complaint. The city manager is the only one who can fire the police chief.
Neither the city manager nor the chief would comment on the union’s complaint.
Meanwhile, Councilman Tom Leonardo said he didn’t think this was the City Council’s business.
After the internal investigation was completed, four officers were reprimanded in the case and two were suspended.
Chief Doug Baker handed the internal investigation over to FDLE and the State Attorney Office.