Parents: Detention deputy reeked of alcohol, was belligerent at daughter's Lakeland soccer practice

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) - Parents in Polk County could not believe what they saw Tuesday at a soccer field in Lakeland. A man who was supposed to be keeping the peace is instead accused of causing chaos.

Joseph Hicks showed up at Hunt Fountain Park on Duff Road in Lakeland to watch his little girl, who plays in the eight and nine-year-old group, practice a game of soccer.

However, things went wrong in a hurry. Parents on the soccer field claim that Hicks reeked of alcohol, was slurring his words and was being belligerent.

The father's behavior?

"Embarrassing," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, especially since this dad is an Osceola County Detention Deputy.

Sadly, his little girl witnessed the behavior on the soccer field.

Little did the soccer dad know, an off-duty Polk County deputy was also in attendance. She was there watching her own daughter play.

After parents began growing more and more concerned, the deputy called for backup and intervened quickly.

On the 911 call, the father is heard mouthing off to the law enforcement officer. In sharp contrast, she is heard, in a calm voice, trying to help him. "I tried to reason with you, I tried to help you," she tells him.

He answers, "Tomorrow, it'll be all the same for me, and you'll be a f-----g hero."

The deputy answered back, "I don't want to be a hero. What's going on with you?"

Other parents who were there and witnessed the confrontation during the soccer event told News Channel 8 they were shocked.

"We have never had an issue like this before, with a parent who acted that way," said Richard Gutierrez, who is a father-of-four and a coach.

Witnesses claim the dad was so drunk that he tied his own dog to a goal post as the kids kicked soccer balls in the pup's direction.

For the off-duty deputy, enough was enough.

She told the dad to stay put, and she took his keys.

As back up arrived, the dad's harassment changed to hostility, parents claim.

He got so angry, according to the sheriff, the father flashed his detention deputy badge, grabbed another deputy's arm and refused to listen to reason.

Hicks is from Lakeland, but has worked in neighboring Osceola for three years. He is now charged with resisting arrest and battery on a law-enforcement officer.

He bonded out of jail. He has been placed on paid administrative leave and can never return to that park again.

As for his daughter, she is allowed to return to the field to play soccer and the team can't wait to have her back.


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