One deputy at the Charlotte County Correctional Facility has been fired and another has been disciplined following an internal affairs investigation.
According to an internal affairs investigation report from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Corrections Deputy First Class Fredrick Frey and Corrections Deputy First Class Christopher Brady were involved in a series of violations while working the night shift from May 4th to May 5th.
On May 5, an inmate used a jail tablet to report that an officer, later identified as Frey, had entered their cell and locked the door behind them. According to the IA report, the inmate says Frey forced them to strip search in front of another inmate, then says Frey also took off his pants.
That complaint prompted an investigation into a series of events that occurred during Frey’s night shift on May 4.
The internal affairs report said Frey violated several rules that night, starting with allegations of searching an inmate. The report also states that Frey “boxed” with the inmate and in another instance kneed the inmate in the leg.
The internal affairs report said Frey was the subject of an active criminal investigation for “incidents involving boxing and knee strikes.” The report states that on July 18, the State Prosecutor’s Office declined to initiate a first-degree criminal prosecution.
During the investigation, Correctional Deputy First Class Christopher Brady was questioned as he was the deputy who worked with Frey. Brady told investigators Frey was acting erratically and may have been intoxicated, but said he did not smell alcohol on Frey’s breath and was not an expert on intoxication.
Brady told investigators Frey locked himself in a cell with two inmates for a strip search, the report said. Brady told investigators he left the area because he was upset about the amount of work they had to do that night and returned later to release Frey from the cell. Brady said the inmates and Frey were joking before Frey entered the cell.
Frey admitted to investigators that he entered the cell and closed the door behind him, saying he knew it was against policy, but said there was no strip search and he never removed his pants. According to the IA report, Frey said the inmates in the cell were changing clothes in preparation for haircuts and shaving, and were not naked in any way. He said they were joking and kidding.
Brady told investigators about a “boxing” incident between Frey and an inmate that occurred later in the shift. He said the two inmates were taken to the shearing room and he saw Frey and the inmate rolling around before moving on to “boxing.” According to the report, Brady said he didn’t know if anyone hit each other and never turned on the body-worn camera during the incident.
Frey told investigators he was joking during the incident but denied there was any “boxing.” He told the investigation that he did not touch the detainee, and he did not touch him.
The internal affairs investigation alleges that the incident in which Frey kneed an inmate was caught on camera at the jail. Frey told investigators that the twisting of the knees was not intentional, but rather an act to get the inmate into the cell. According to the report, Frey said the second kneeling was actually caused by the inmate tripping over a telephone cord on the ground, and said he never made contact with the inmate.
The report says Brady was present during the two kneeling incidents. Brady told investigators he didn’t see them.
In the middle of the kneeling incident, the report said, the video also captured contraband in the form of a bag of chips being passed by an inmate into another inmate’s cell. Brady told investigators he didn’t confiscate the contraband because he believed it would make the inmates “behave” and make the rest of the shift more difficult. Frey told investigators that he did not remember whether he saw the contraband being transferred.
According to an internal affairs investigation by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, none of the deputies had their body cameras on during the incidents, and none were reported to supervisors.
Internal Affairs found that Brady violated policies on body cameras, use of force and the code of ethics by failing to report and act when required. Brady was suspended for 82 hours, placed on the day shift and placed on one year of disciplinary probation. He must also receive training related to the use of the body camera and the importance of intervention.
Internal Affairs found that Frey violated procedures related to strip searches of inmates, the use of body cameras, perjury and breaking the law. As a result, the sheriff fired Frey.