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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/11/2005 5:43:49 AM EDT
Be careful what you post on message boards, it may be used against you in a court of law.

Link to story www.naplesnews.com/npdn/news/article/0,2071,NPDN_14940_4069721,00.html

and the movie: wms.scripps.com/naples/05/09/deputy.wmv

Deputy loses job after tipping off fellow road racers
By BRIGID O'MALLEY, bmomalley@naplesnews.com
September 10, 2005

A Collier County sheriff's deputy was fired after he was discovered street racing in North Naples and then found sharing information on police tactics with fellow racers on an online message board.

Derek Hall, who joined the agency in 1998, was fired last month after he was found to be involved in illegal street racing while off duty and sharing information he had picked up on the job about a racing spot that deputies were alerted to, which are violations of Sheriff's Office policies.

He also bragged on the message boards about being a sheriff's deputy who raced on local streets in his yellow Mustang Cobra, saying he "drives like an idiot," according to internal affairs reports.

At one point, he alerted fellow racers that deputies knew about racing on Belville Boulevard and warned them to stay away and later admitted he learned the information during his job as a deputy.

Hall, 32, appealed his firing, but was turned down last month by Sheriff Don Hunter.

Since his firing, Hall has joined his uncle's grading business, but hopes to return to law enforcement. He has applied for a job as a Lee County deputy.

Hall, who had earned $43,647 annually, said in an interview with the Daily News that he thinks the online messages were what sealed his firing.

He said they were taken out of context and meant to be funny.

"I know cops suck, but it is nice to be one sometimes," one message read.

"I think they took it personally," Hall said.

Internal affairs reports give this account:

One of the internal affairs investigators was doing an "integrity check" based on information that came into the Sheriff's Office about Hall's racing. Hall said that he thinks it was a couple of North Naples deputies who saw him with the racing crowd before.

On March 18, two investigators saw him at Vanderbilt Beach and Livingston Roads around 10:30 p.m. He was in his 2004 Cobra and taking part in a street race.

Hall was first seen driving south on Livingston Road, then made a U-turn at Orange Blossom Drive and headed north on Livingston Road. He apparently was checking to make sure the road was clear of traffic. He discussed the terms of the race with his opponent as they were driving south at 20 mph and yelling at each other through their open windows, Hall later told investigators. Deputies estimate he was driving 100 mph.

" ... I go after this light, you know it's ... gonna be clear and we'll just you know, hit it after that," Hall recalled in his interview with investigators as he recounted his conversation with the other racer.

He said they started from a roll and raced for about 10 seconds.

Hall said he had street raced about three times, but later said he had probably raced more often. But he said he usually raced on tracks in Immokalee and Bradenton.

"Oh, I know I've screwed up," he told investigators.

He said he understood that being a law officer and being a street racer was a conflict of interest. He said hanging out with other racers didn't seem harmful. He said he didn't wager on the races or use his sheriff's communications equipment in connection with any of the races.

Hall told investigators that Deputy Anthony Demonbreun also hung out with them, but didn't race.

Demonbreun told investigators that he'd seen Hall race a black Corvette on Livingston Road in January. He said they both participate in a public Internet forum called NaplesRacing.com. He told investigators their screen names.

Hall said he still sees Demonbreun on the site and posting messages. He said he warned him about it because the Sheriff's Office is most likely monitoring it.

Investigators found Hall's screen name and printed out hundreds of messages he'd posted. They also found other sites and Hall's home page. One photo on his Web site had Hall's yellow Mustang with a patrol car behind it. The number of the patrol car matched the one that was assigned to Hall.

Investigators looked at all of the postings that dealt with races that Hall was in or promoted and other postings that mentioned his job as a deputy or which contained information that would conflict with his job as police officer. Around 150 postings were found. Others dealt with discussions of high-performance cars.

Two days after Hall's first interview with internal affairs, he had started a thread on a discussion group called, "How would you feel ... " It read: "If someone from your job didn't agree with the people you hang out with and started to watch what you do while you were out at night. They just sit back and wait for you to screw up. How long do you think it would take before they caught you doing something stupid?"

Another message written by Hall said he couldn't wait to see the story about his case written in the Naples Daily News. He also alerted racers to the day when he was going to take a polygraph test and said he was worried about the way the polygraph is administered, not the questions going to be asked. He also, mistakenly, told fellow racers that the investigators didn't know about the message board or the site.

"They are actually lost and didn't have a clue how everything works," he wrote on the message board.

Internal affairs investigators asked Hall at what point he should have to step in as a law enforcement officer during the street racing.

"I don't know, until that happens, I don't, you know, I'll have to do what I need to do, but I haven't been put in a position where I felt that I needed to react," Hall told investigators.

Hall said during a Daily News interview that he was embarrassed by some of the comments he made on the message boards.

"I was having a couple of drinks and just sitting back and talking," he said. " ... They made it seem like I was writing a sworn statement online. You're in a chat room. You're just talking."

Hall said he met with the sheriff for about 40 minutes and then was fired. He said Hunter was upset about the racing, especially after laying down the law to his deputies about speeding after one officer was caught speeding in his patrol car at 114 mph.

"Egregious and continuing violations of policy and Florida traffic laws as a participant of an organized group of persons whose purpose is the unlawful use of public roadways for sport in a reckless and willful manner," Hunter noted in Hall's appeal.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 6:04:11 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 6:12:06 AM EDT
He was putting his job in jeopardy, he had to know that.

And had a big mouth besides.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 6:17:52 AM EDT
That's just a fairy tale, everyone knows that:
1. Police do no wrong.
2. The great blue wall protects all of law enforcement.
3. No dogs were killed.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 6:30:27 AM EDT
He should have kept his mouth shut.
Street racing is bad...m'kay
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 8:34:44 AM EDT
He was probably the type to lecture people about the dangers of speeding when writing tickets.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 8:39:33 AM EDT
Stupid is as stupid does.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 8:53:24 AM EDT
I wonder if I can get fired from my job because I participate on this "subversive" website in my off hours?
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 8:55:52 AM EDT

People are so uptight. What will be next?

DEA agents cant deal crack on the side?

Link Posted: 9/11/2005 8:56:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lon_Moer:
I wonder if I can get fired from my job because I participate on this "subversive" website in my off hours?

Recent employment practices and legal decisions seem to indicate that you CAN be fired for activites you engage in during your off hours.

Link Posted: 9/11/2005 9:06:26 AM EDT
Collier County???

Hi, I'm looking for Ray Finkle... and a clean pair of shorts.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 9:08:32 AM EDT

Sounds like this guy was on the dull side of the tool shed.

He participated in illegal activity, then compromised his Dept.'s intel.
He makes himself vulnerable to exploitation by the bad guys, by "having something",
his illegal activity, on him.
Want him on your team?
Want the chop shop guys that alot of street racers buy "used" parts from
knowing about up-coming busts? Fellow officers or civies killed in chases of these moron fart-pipe lovin idjits?
I think not.
He doesnt deserve to be an Officer, and no, I am not LEO.

Some occupations require people to be held to a higher standard, and LE is one of them, or damn well should be.


Link Posted: 9/11/2005 3:00:56 PM EDT
Collier County has a very professional Sheriff's office, and a very capable and dedicated Sheriff named Don Hunter. The former deputy was doomed by his own arrogance. This should be remembered as a positive reflection of CCSO removing non-professionals when necessary.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 3:04:41 PM EDT
That was smart of him. Wonder how old he was.
43 is pretty good money.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 3:10:15 PM EDT
Looks like somebody watched Fast and Furious too many times

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