Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Atlantic Beach Chief Cleared of Misconduct; but the Police Union Says It Wants to See a Detailed Review of the Investigation

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Atlantic Beach Chief Cleared of Misconduct; but the Police Union Says It Wants to See a Detailed Review of the Investigation

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

ATLANTIC BEACH - Now that Police Chief Michael Classey has been cleared of inappropriate conduct toward a female officer, the union representing her and other officers wants a detailed review of the investigation.

A nine-page city report released Friday on Officer Renee Jackson's accusations that Classey was "unlawfully sexually hostile" said there was no merit to the complaint. The accusations centered on a June 17 incident in which she said Classey leaned against her for a few seconds near the dispatch room during a conversation with several officers.

"Under applicable law, such an incident does not rise to the level of unlawful harassment as it is neither severe nor pervasive," wrote Margaret Zabijaka, a Jacksonville attorney hired by the city to conduct the investigation.

Coastal Police Benevolent Association spokesman Mike Scudiero said Friday that the union will not accept the findings until there is a detailed review of how the investigation was conducted.

"I think we stand by our officer," Scudiero said.

The probe was launched following a June 23 letter from association President Vincent Champion that said, "Chief Michael Classey displayed unacceptable behavior towards Officer Jackson. I demand that a formal investigation be conducted regarding his unprofessional behavior."

Jackson also made another half dozen complaints that Classey fostered a hostile work environment toward her. All those claims were found to have "no evidence." The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office would not investigate the complaints.

Scudiero said he's not sure how the city came to its conclusion. But he said the city paid for the attorney to investigate the incident and Zabijaka charged the city $295 an hour. The total bill has yet to be submitted to the city.

"You have me at a loss. The only two people who know for sure what took place here are the two people involved," Scudiero said. …

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