By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
A three-person panel of the state commission that certifies police officers found probable cause Tuesday to consider revoking Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s license to carry a badge and a gun.
The administrative charges against Tony were eight counts of “unlawful acts” involving his driver’s license. The case will go next before the full, 19-member Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission (CJS&TC), possibly as early as next month when it meets in Ponte Vedra Beach on August 15-18. If the full commission decides to revoke Tony’s certification, he would no longer be a police officer, and would lose not only the ability to make an arrest, but his right to wear his sheriff’s uniform and the five stars he boasts on his collar.
The commission could also find no evidence exists to prove the case against Tony, or choose a lesser punishment. The guidelines for a finding that Tony made false statements are a suspension of his police certification for up to two years or revocation.
In any case, Tony is an elected constitutional officer and would remain sheriff.
Tuesday’s decision is also a blow to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who chose Tony without allowing time for a full vetting by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Among the things the governor did not know in January 2019 when he appointed Tony to replace Scott Israel, because Tony did not disclose it: that in 1993, when Tony was 14, he shot and killed an 18-year-old man. Tony was arrested and charged with murder, but was acquitted at trial in Philadelphia’s juvenile court. All records of the case are secret.
Florida Bulldog first published news of Tony’s murder arrest in May 2020.
‘PC’ FINDING BASED ON FDLE PROBE
Tony, a former Coral Springs police sergeant, was among 80 police and corrections officers officials from around Florida whose cases of “moral character” were considered.
Late Tuesday, Florida Bulldog obtained the panel’s probable cause determination sheet. It shows the case against Tony is rooted in findings contained in a FDLE report completed in July 2021 and made public in January. FDLE recommended that Tony be charged with felony perjury for lying about his past on a Feb. 1, 2019 application for a replacement driver’s license, but prosecutors in Lee County declined to indict.
The probable cause sheet says that on May 8, 2020 FDLE received a complaint alleging that Tony made false statements on multiple documents. During the criminal probe that followed, agents found information regarding falsifications on Tony’s applications for Florida Driver’s licenses.
In October 1999, Tony applied for a license and answered “yes” when asked if his driving privilege had ever been revoked in another state, and listed his reason as a ticket he’d gotten in Pennsylvania, the sheet says.
“Between March 15, 2002 and February 1, 2019, Tony submitted 11 applications for Florida Driver’s Licenses and was issued a replacement license each time. On eight of the applications, he answered “no” to the question asking if his driving privilege has ever been revoked, suspended or denied in any other state,” the sheet goes on. “Investigators obtained and reviewed Tony’s Pennsylvania driver record. Tony’s license was suspended on August 3, 1993 for failure to appear for trial or court appearance and January 23, 1998 for five separate cases of failure to appear for trial or court appearance.”
The complaint with CJS&TC was filed by FDLE Inspector Keith Riddick, the lead investigator in the two-year probe of Sheriff Tony. Riddick’s 20-page report detailed a variety of suspected crimes based on numerous lies Tony has told over the years when applying for law enforcement jobs and training. Many of those lies were determined to be too old to prosecute.
Sheriff Tony declined to be interviewed by FDLE agents during the investigation. Tony has also declined Florida Bulldog‘s repeated requests for comment.
Four months ago, shortly after the investigation was made public, Gov. DeSantis stated that he would review its findings. Since then, he’s had nothing publicly to say about it.