Fort Myers police releases part of redacted Freeh Group appendices

Published: May 4, 2021 6:50 PM EDT
Updated: May 5, 2021 10:20 AM EDT

Recently released documents by the Fort Myers Police Department show allegations of police misconduct uncovered during an audit in 2017.

The documents are two appendices part of an audit by the Freeh Group International Solutions that found alleged police corruption, allegations of favoritism and a lack of resources that kept the department from functioning.

While the 72-page report was made public, two appendices were never disclosed by Chief Derrick Diggs.

But the information in the documents led to four officers being placed in administrative leave in 2017.

In April, Fort Myers police Officer Jason Jackson was allowed to return to the agency as an on-duty officer after a federal investigation failed to turn up criminal charges.

The other three officers, Melvin Perry, Rick Notaro and Michael Forbes, retired from the agency while they were on administrative leave.

Fort Myers police released the appendices but one of them remains heavily redacted due to it being part of an ongoing federal investigation.

The Fort Myers Police Department declined to answer questions on Tuesday.

One page starts out talking about an executive-level manager maintaining a personal record of events due to decisions by “the then Chief of Police concerning a significant internal affairs matter involving a Supervisor.”

“I would say 100%, yes, they are talking about me,” said Dennis Eads.

Eads was appointed interim chief after Chief Doug Baker was fired for lying during an internal affairs investigation into the wrongful arrest of NFL player Nate Allen.

Eads retired in October of 2016.

Eads was chief when the city decided to hire the Freeh Group to the tune of about $300,000 to look into the police department.

The result was a new police chief and a lot of recommendations to improve the department.

Eads said he was only ever provided with talk.

“All I was ever provided with was what I just said, people saying it,” Eads said. “When I would ask for some sort of evidence or anything to corroborate it, I would always receive the same thing, which was nothing.”

Allen’s arrest brought the agency a lot of notoriety.

“At the time the agency was under a lot of scrutiny from the media, referencing racial tension within the agency, without the agency, and both of these individuals were African American,” Eads said. “I absolutely was not going to launch an investigation based on someone’s thought or opinion.”

To Eads, it’s a lot of fabrication.

“A lot of fairytale,” Eads said.

The remaining documents still haven’t been released.

Matt Sellers, president of the Gulf Coast Police Benevolent Association, said he believes the active investigation keeping the rest of the pages from being released is a federal murder case.

“I’ll continue to fight until the full truth is out,” Sellers said. “It’s coming, I don’t know exactly when but I do know there will be an end to this.”


To read about the federal murder case, click here: Is a 3-year police misconduct investigation connected to the murder of a federal drug informant?