West Palm Beach, FL (WiredPRNews.com) The anti-government corruption website www.PBSOTalk.Com, which focuses on corruption in Palm Beach County, uncovered a massive cover-up after a tip was received from an anonymous source. The tip was a sworn deposition given by Chief James Gabbard. This deposition detailed how the current Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw was caught engaging in an elaborate scheme to tamper with evidence and then stole a pistol out of the evidence room when he was a Major at West Palm Beach Police Department.
Chief Gabbard testified:
“…Major Bradshaw at that time had removed some reports, or removed a card from an area in the administration division relating to evidence, and had gone down to the evidence room and took the same card from, matching card or duplicate card, backup card, whatever you want to call it, from the box in the evidence room that described the pistol. The evidence custodian at the time with the fellow by the name of bob Linton, something like that. he’s the custodian…
…When things were removed he noted that case number. He then went to Captain Mann, Captain Mann been honest and forthright said he would check into it. When he found out what the case was, he was able to trace it to a case card. It was a gun that was found. It was the mini millimeter Smith and Wesson. It was found in some sort of case. I don’t recall what. And that everything was missing, reports, evidence sheets, everything was missing, as was the gun from evidence…
…I told him, I said, ‘you’ve got to tell the chief.’ I mean it was obvious that a gun had been stolen, had been removed from the building and reports had been removed. So he sat on it a day, I believe. He was really nervous about it, because obviously he was risking a great deal. But I told them he had no choice…
…The chief came down to my office in close the door and he said to me, he said, well, he says, ‘I know he was stealing the gun.’ He says, ‘I’m going to save him. He’s got a lot of time invested here and I would hate to see him ruin his career over this and I’m going to save him.’ He said that the gun – and he told me this –he said that Bradshaw had admitted to him that he stole the gun in that it was all boxed up and ready to be shipped somewhere. But somebody wanted the gun. In later on in the conversation he hinted at where it might be going, but that’s immaterial, I think. And Bradshaw offered to resign and he refused to accept his resignation. And he still thought he ought to save him…”
In the same deposition, Chief Gabbard told how multiple officers came to him, stating Bradshaw ordered them to falsify reports to get enough evidence to arrest a suspect. It also details how Bradshaw carried around photos of a suspect who was bitten so hard in the crotch, the suspect’s testicles were hanging out. According to Chief Gabbard, these photos were carried for the purpose of bragging rights and had no evidential value. When the case went to trial, the photos had disappeared.
Luckily for Ric Bradshaw, he had a chief willing “save him,” suspending him for five days for a far lesser crime. Still, There are a lot of unanswered questions left by this deposition. What was he going to do with the gun? Was it going to be planted on someone innocent? Was it going to be used for a crime? Was it going to be a “Throwdown” in case he or one of his officers shot an unarmed man?
These questions may never be answered, but some can:
Do we want the Sheriff of one of the largest Departments in the country; a Sheriff that is supposed to be dedicated to integrity and honor, to be an evidence-tampering thief who orders officers to falsify reports to convict people that may be innocent?
Does Palm Beach County want a morally-bankrupt leader that displays worse ethics and judgment than the common criminal while in charge of a budget of $500 million dollars?
Do the citizens of Palm Beach County want a Sheriff who exposes them to danger by letting cops who engage in criminal activities wear the uniform and a gun?
Do the citizens of Palm Beach County want a Sheriff’s office that engages in retaliation against deputies who come forward with ethical or criminal violations? For all these questions, I suspect the answer is a resounding, “No.”
A recent poll on the PBSO Talk news blog found a staggering 87% of the voters thought Sheriff Bradshaw was basically corrupt, 9% thought Sheriff Bradshaw was ethical and 4% were undecided. These are shockingly-unacceptable numbers, many from the men and women that serve under him.
www.PBSOTalk.com is a web site that focuses on corruption in Palm Beach County, Florida, specifically with waste and the Culture of Corruption taking place under the watchful eye of Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw. This is an open discussion forum where county and local municipality officers, deputies and citizens are allowed openly and anonymously vent their frustrations as well as talk about corruption, waste and fraud in Palm Beach County. We actively investigate anonymous tips sent in to our tip mailbox, tip phone line and tip e-mail address.
For more information or to read the deposition, please visit www.pbsotalk.com or check out the news blog for a growing collection of Palm Beach County Corruption stories at http://news.pbsotalk.com.