Palm Beach Sheriff targets deputies, blogger who expose corruption
By Adrian Wyllie – 1787 Network
PALM BEACH – Former Palm Beach County Deputy Mark Dougan was a law enforcement officer that upheld the oath he took to support and defend the Constitution of the State of Florida and the United States. That’s why, according to Dougan, “all hell broke loose” when he refused an order to commit felony misconduct. Dougan soon resigned.
Since that time, Dougan has embarked on a personal quest to expose corruption in the PBSO on his website, http://www.PBSOtalk.com. Because of his contacts as a former deputy, he has cultivated an informant network of current PBSO deputies and employees who blow the whistle on corruption in confidence.
Dougan has reported several examples of corruption committed directly by Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and by his subordinates under his command. These allegations are not the run-of-the-mill government corruption. They include a long list of misappropriation, civil rights violations, forcible felonies, and a widespread cover up.
Some of Dougan’s allegations include:
- Sheriff Bradshaw ordered the falsification of police reports to justify arrests, and specifically target minorities
- Sheriff Bradshaw stole a firearm from evidence, and then altered records to conceal it
- Sheriff Bradshaw blocked an internal affairs investigation into a PBSO lieutenant accused of stealing a firearm and prescription drugs from the home of a fellow deputy who had terminal cancer and died days later
- Sheriff Bradshaw spent as much as $89,000 in county funds to purchase three large barbecue grills that he planned to use for his re-election campaign, but after Dougan filed a complaint, the grills were not used for the campaign
- Sheriff Bradshaw used his Palm Beach County credit card to wine-and-dine campaign contributors, including one with suspected mob connections
- Sheriff Bradshaw covered for deputies who used excessive force and bragged about it online
- Sheriff Bradshaw carried a picture of a black man who had his testicles bitten off by a West Palm Beach Police K-9 for “bragging rights.”
The PBSO Internal Affairs office has launched an investigation.
But, it’s not an investigation into the alleged corruption at the hands of Sheriff Bradshaw and his subordinates. Instead, they’ve launched an investigation into those suspected of leaking information to PBSOtalk.com and the media.
So far, Bradshaw has arrested at least one whistleblower. Internal Affairs Lt. Dean Johnson was arrested in March for “unlawful disclosure of confidential information” and several other felonies. Johnson is currently on administrative leave.
Another one of his informants, PBSO Sgt. Anne Burke, had recently begun working with Internal Affairs on the investigation into Lt. Johnson. However, Burke retired from the department last week.
Dougan also appears to be the target of a secret criminal investigation by the sheriff’s office. But, the matter is so sensitive, that the PBSO doesn’t identify him by name. Instead, they refer to him as “John Doe.”
A probable cause affidavit issued by the sheriff’s office in connection with the case surrounding Lt. Johnson states there is an “ongoing criminal investigation” into a “John Doe…because he was a previous employee of PBSO.” The affidavit includes phone records of at least one call between Sgt. Burke and Dougan, whose phone number is identified as belonging to the “John Doe” The affidavit also seeks a search warrant for computers belonging to “John Doe.”
According to Dougan, the sheriff is so intent in shutting down PBSOtalk.com, that last month, Bradshaw’s campaign manager offered Dougan $75,000 to buy the web site. Dougan says he refused.
A call to Sheriff Bradshaw and the PBSO public information officer for comment was not returned at the time of posting.
The 1787 Network will have more on this story as it develops.