Deputies' Facebook posts jeopardize department's outreach - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Deputies' Facebook posts jeopardize department's outreach

By Chuck Weber email

BELLE GLADE, FL (WFLX)-Facebook comments by two former Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies and a demoted sergeant are damaging the department's efforts to build rapport with the Belle Glade community.

Former deputies Gregory Lynch and Michael Woodside were fired and former sergeant Brent Raban was demoted to deputy and transferred out of Belle Glade. A Sheriff's Office report says the three officers, who all worked in Belle Glade, made posts to their Facebook pages both on- and off- duty, bragging about making arrests and the injuries suffered by arrestees.

We spoke with Vaughn Grant, mother of Samuel Grant, who's named in the Sheriff's Facebook investigation. The report says 22 minutes after Grant's arrest in December, Raban bragged about it on his Facebook page.

"There wasn't no need of that," said Mrs. Grant. "How are you going to uphold the law and break it too?"

In booking photos, Grant is bending his neck because of pain. The Sheriff's report says Grant should have gone to a hospital first, but instead deputies took him straight to jail. Corrections officers refused to admit him until Grant went to a hospital.

The Facebook comments only seem to reinforce a negative image of the Sheriff's Office held by many in town. Many in Belle Glade opposed the Sheriff assuming law enforcement duties there from the beginning.

"These type of setbacks just really frustrate us," admitted Col. Michael Gauger of the Sheriff's Office. He listed a string of Glades community programs undertaken by his department, as well as improving crime statistics.

"We have done so much to improve the relationship," said Gauger. "And we hope the community will stand firm with us."

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