JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives have been arrested and are on unpaid leave pending removal for tampering with evidence at a crime scene and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Sheriff Mike Williams announced the arrests at a press conference on Thursday. Williams said on February 6, three JSO detectives, Bryan Turner nine-year veteran, Kyle Kvies, three-year veteran, and Lance Griffis, 11-year veteran, were posing as drug buyers. After a fatal police-involved shooting, the detectives removed beer cans from the vehicle, which was an active crime scene.
The incident occurred at the corner of Barnett and 5th St., said Williams, the detectives were meeting up with a middle-man that could help them facilitate a drug deal.
The suspect, Jerome Allen, approached the car, pointed what appeared to be a weapon at the detectives, and tried to rob them, according to Williams. One of the three officers within the vehicle shot Allen, who was deceased at the scene.
Williams said that police believe the robbery to be legit, based off of a recording one of the detectives had of the incident. The recording also contained voice recordings of the detectives discussing the removal of the beer cans from the crime scene, one of which was opened, the other two remained closed.
Sheriff Williams states that beer cans are often used as props by undercover officers, however their removal from the crime scene is illegal. Williams also said he believes that a number of administrative infractions had been made by the detectives and the removal of the beer cans was an attempt to cover up the administrative errors.
When asked if it was possible that the officer who shot Allen was drinking at the time of the incident, Williams said it was a possibility, however they were unsure at the time of the press conference. What they are sure of, says Williams, was that evidence had been tampered with.
All three detectives have been interviewed and Williams says that there is much more investigation to be done, however he wanted to take action against these detectives quickly.
"I will always act just like this when someone wearing this badge breaks the law and I will do that every single time," said Williams.