DUI cases from former Tampa Police officer dropped - WFLA News Channel 8

DUI cases from former Tampa Police officer dropped

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The Hillsborough State Attorney's office is dropping about a dozen DUI cases connected with a recently fired Tampa Police officer who was involved with a controversial stop of an attorney earlier this year.

The cases are ones in which former Tampa Police Sgt. Ray Fernandez made the initial stop on the case, said Mark Cox, spokesman for the state attorney's office.

The office is also reviewing 40 other cases to see what Fernandez' involvement was in those cases and whether the state can make its case without using Fernandez as a witness, he said.

The issue is one of credibility and his value as a witness, he said.

Fernandez was involved in the arrest of Tampa attorney Phil Campbell, whose DUI charge was dropped after an investigation into whether his arrest was a set up connected to a high profile trial. At the time of his arrest, Campbell was representing Todd "MJ" Schnitt in his lawsuit with rival radio personality Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem.

Related: more on the case of Bubba 'The Love Sponge' Clem

Fernandez got the tip about Campbell's whereabouts from a close friend who works for the law firm Campbell was facing in the trial. According to an investigation into the situation conducted by the Pinellas State Attorney, Fernandez exchanged dozens of texts with that friend that evening.

Fernandez was recently fired from TPD after Police Chief Jane Castor said she learned he was "misleading" about his contact with that person the night of the arrest.

Fernandez attorney Chip Purcell said it is "irresponsible to drop those cases." Purcell said there is "no credible evidence" Fernandez was ever dishonest about anything.

 

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