On May 5, 2012, law enforcement officers from FSU, TPD and the Leon County Sheriff’s Department rode their bikes through various obstacle courses. This event was held to award officers, as well as to raise money for the Special Olympics Program for the Leon County district and Kids First Fund.
As the legal guardian of a special needs child (my 17-year-old nephew), my family has reaped great benefits of the funds raised through these types of events. From middle school through high school, my nephew has competed in many different Special Olympics competitions. He’s won plenty of Gold and Silver medals in Track and Field (he wears his medals proudly). He especially loves the medals that he has won in the Annual Special Olympics at Disney World.
My nephew, who is in his senior year of high school, was front and center when Detective Don Odham, Lt. Timothy Baxter, Deputy Clifton Couch, Deputy Brian Pearson and two other unknown deputies aggressively badgered my son’s 21-year-old co-worker/ roommate in the parking lot of the young man’s apartment complex. All but one deputy were acting like a group of bullies. They were taking turns on this obvious frightened young man. They were literally playing good cop/ bad cop with this young man. It was a scary sight for even me to have witnessed. That’s why as an adult–as a praying mother, I was not all that surprised when I read the probable cause arrest warrant. In the arrest warrant it states that this same young man admitted to knowing that my son was in possession of firearms and he (the young man) drove my son to the residence and sat in the car in a dark driveway across the street from the residence, mind you–this young man is not under arrest. As a matter of fact, the State Attorney’s office has teamed up with the sheriff’s office in practicing bullying. You see this young man has pending charges. So everytime that my son’s trial date changes, the young man’s trial date changes–always a week or two after my son’s trial date. If the State Attorney’s office and the Leon County Sheriff’s office aren’t holding their feet on this young man’s throat then I’m not a God fearing woman. But the most disheartening thing that happened directly after the deputies finished bullying the young man was when the deputies flat out told that boldfaced lie and then handcuffed my son. My special needs nephew and my 8-year-old great-niece witnessed everything. Deputy Couch, who was ordered by Lt. Baxter to place my son under arrest, removed the handcuffs off of my son because they knew that they were lying. Both my nephew and my great-niece knew that they’d lied. At one point both of them asked me, “why are the police lying on Shon?” How does a parent answer a question like that? How do you make a child see good in law enforcement officers, when they have witnessed them tell a boldfaced lie?
Fortunately, like I mentioned earlier—I am a praying mother—and I was able to explain to them that all police officers are not bad people—all of them are not liars. Unfortunately, because of the mounting lies of the Leon County bullies, my family is facing financial and mental hurdles that are sometimes overwhelming. And because of this, my nephew was not able to participate in any of the Special Olympics events this year. What should’ve been his best year of high school—senior events, prom and graduation—was tarnished by bullies that represented the very agency that was behind the highlights of his previous high school years.