PINELLAS COUNTY – On Monday, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputy was terminated after two investigations revealed he had inappropriate contact with female citizens.
According to the Administrative Investigation Division, on July 3, 2020, an initial investigation was opened when a complaint was received by a female citizen regarding unsolicited and unwelcome text messages sent to her by Deputy Brian Overton.
The female advised she had met Deputy Overton during the death investigation of her father.
The female told investigators, the initial text messages were related to the investigation; however, they quickly transitioned to a personal conversation with some comments being sexual in nature.
Deputy Overton engaged in regular text message conversations with the complainant for days after the investigation, which was not related to his official duties, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Overton admitted to this behavior and was issued a Written Reprimand on August 8, 2020.
The Administrative Investigation Division then stated on February 5, 2021, Deputy Overton was dispatched to a child abuse call in his assigned patrol area. After completing the call, he contacted the female complainant via telephone to inform her of the outcome of the investigation.
Deputy Overton utilized a phone application that concealed his personal phone number and displayed an alternate phone number.
On February 6, 2021, Deputy Overton utilized the same phone application and sent a text message to the complainant requesting information regarding the earlier child abuse call. Deputy Overton then engaged in a series of text messages with the complainant which were of a personal and sexual nature, to include making comments about the complainant’s body and appearance and informed the complainant he had a vasectomy.
The text messages were not related to the call for service nor were they in the performance of lawful duties.
During the complainant’s interview with investigators, the text message conversation was described as being unprofessional, creepy, and scary. The complainant felt she was being sexually harassed and was hesitant to report the behavior because she was concerned of retribution and that it could potentially affect her case.
During the Administrative Interview, Deputy Overton admitted the text messages were improper, did not serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, and were not ethical. Deputy Overton further acknowledged these messages were sent with the sole purpose of engaging the complainant in personal conversation and should not have been sent.
The Administrative Review Board found Deputy Overton abused his position of authority and demonstrated a pattern of being unable to practice self-restraint. Deputy Overton put his own personal wants before the welfare of citizens who are in vulnerable situations.
As a result of the investigation, the Administrative Review Board determined that Deputy Overton committed these violations and he was terminated effective Monday, May 17, 2021.
Sheriff Gualtieri stated, “Deputy Overton’s conduct was reprehensible and instead of honoring his oath to help others he tried to take advantage of women in vulnerable situations for self-serving sexual gratification. Overton’s conduct is inconsistent with how a deputy sheriff should conduct himself and he has forfeited the privilege of being a law enforcement officer.”
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