Charlotte County sheriff write-in hopeful continues campaign despite trespass order

Published: October 22, 2020 6:45 PM EDT
Updated: October 22, 2020 7:24 PM EDT

A write-in candidate for sheriff is banned from going into the buildings he wants to oversee.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office issued a trespass order against Andrew Sheets, who is campaigning as a write-in candidate for sheriff.

We spoke to Sheets about the controversy Thursday and also heard what the current sheriff had to say.

“If I find out about corruption, I’m going to expose it,” Sheets said.

That’s what Sheets claims he was looking to do Tuesday when he stopped by a Charlotte County building.

That’s until the sheriff’s office issued him a trespass order in place until October 2021.

“All I did was go up to the window, ask for an internal investigator, and they trespassed me from all offices just for doing that,” Sheets said.

He did so wearing a body camera, despite an ordinance banning recordings inside county buildings.

“It absolutely makes it difficult,” Sheets said. “In my opinion, he abused his power. It was a smear technique.”

Sheriff Bill Prummell told us the trespass order has nothing to do with the election, and it’s to protect staff from Sheets’, “constant abuse.”

“As Sheriff and CEO of this office, I have an obligation to protect my employees from abrasive and abusive behavior and to maintain a workplace free from any type of harassment. In addition, we have a responsibility to provide a service to our citizens in an environment free from intimidation and disruptive conduct,” Prummell shared in a statement to WINK News. “This has been challenging with this individual, who on a repeated basis, has come into the various sheriff’s office locations and berated, belittled, and cursed at my staff. They are here to do a job and do not need or deserve to be treated in this manner, and I will not stand for it.”

“Since January, the sheriff’s office received 522 public records requests from this individual. They too are often abusive and slanderous in nature. He has been provided an alternative means to request services from the CCSO where civilian staff are not subjected to his degrading and harassing behavior. There is never a legitimate purpose for this conduct.”

“This has nothing to do with the election, but to protect my staff from his constant abuse.”

“It falls under the county ordinance as they are county buildings.”

Sheets is also banned from entering the Punta Gorda Police Department. He sent us a copy of a complaint he says he filed against Sheriff Prummell with the Florida Commission on Ethics, but the commission says it doesn’t have a copy of that complaint.

As for how this will impact Sheets’ write-in campaign, he sees an impact.

“I think it’s 50-50, he said. “I think it more hurts than helps.”