City Councilman Kevin Anderson said a cloud will hang over the Fort Myers police department until the full details of a three-year-old misconduct investigation are revealed.
“Now we see the level of corruption that’s being alleged and I feel for those men and women who try to come in here every day and do a good job and yet people look at them with suspicion as well,” said Anderson in reaction to a WINK News investigation.
Police Union president Matt Sellers told WINK News that the federal government is investigating four members of the police force as part of the case against Robert Ward, an accused drug trafficker indicted for ordering the murder of a federal drug informant.
Kristopher Smith was killed in 2013.
“I can assure you these officers had nothing to do with that case,” said Sellers, who was the homicide detective assigned to Smith’s murder prior to his retirement in 2016.
Captain Melvin Perry, Sergeant Rick Notaro, Sergeant Michael Forbes, and Officer Jason Jackson were put on paid administrative leave in February 2017.
It happened the day prior to the release of an audit into the agency. Part of that audit was released with heavy redactions.
The audit was sent to the Department of Justice when Chief Derrick Diggs asked for a misconduct investigation into the agency in March 2017.
The police union is suing the city to release the appendixes to the audit without redactions.
The department maintains that it is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and cannot be released.
Attorneys for the four officers say they did nothing wrong.
Perry, Forbes, and Notaro are now retired. Jackson remains on paid leave.
The U.S. Attorney’s Officer and Fort Myers Police Department have declined to comment.
Fort Myers Councilwoman Gaile Anthony said it was a legal case and policy prevented her to comment.
At the time of publication Mayor Randy Henderson, Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi, and remaining city councilmen have not responded to requests for comment.