Lakeland city commissioners say they unanimously support a Lakeland Police sergeant caught in the middle of a months-long sex scandal, and they hope to reverse the State Attorney's refusal to accept the veteran officer's testimony in court.
Sergeant Bryan McNabb appeared before commissioners this morning flanked by police union president Nick Marolda. McNabb received the lowest form of discipline from LPD for failing to report misconduct in the case involving former civilian crime analyst Sue Eberle.
State Attorney Jerry Hill believed that punishment was too lenient and issued what's known as a death letter against McNabb claiming he wasn't truthful about his involvement with Eberle. The letter essentially states McNabb's testimony will no longer be accepted in the 10th Judicial Circuit because he's untrustworthy.
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"I would like to garner as much public support as I can to try to influence Mr. Hill to at least take another look at this issue and to change his mind to ultimately rescind this poison pen letter," Marolda told commissioners.
Commissioners said they do support McNabb and plan to send city manager Doug Thomas to meet with the State Attorney to bridge the divide on the case. One commissioner, Justin Troller, suggested an even more aggressive approach.
"We are down officers. Crime is festering, and we have a good cop that can't be a good cop. Our community suffers, and so I say put him back on the streets, and throw the ball back in Mr. Hill's court," Troller said.
As for Bryan McNabb, today he became the first officer to break their silence about the sex scandal. He denies any wrongdoing in the Eberle case and says Jerry Hill just got it wrong.
"I think there's a lot that went into how he made his decision. I don't think it's the correct decision, and I think he made a mistake, and I forgive him for his mistake," McNabb said.
A spokesman for Jerry Hill's office says the State Attorney is willing to meet with Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas to discuss the McNabb issue. A date for that meeting has not yet been set.
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