An internal affairs report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has cleared a lieutenant of being involved in a social media post that referred to participants in a fight at Edison Mall with a racial slur.
The Facebook post in question appeared after the December fight during which a number of black women kicked and punched another woman on the ground, one pushing a child in a stroller, and video of the fight spread on social media. The post containing the racial slur appeared on an account belonging to the wife of Lieutenant Charles Pakulis, Linda Deverso-Pakulis. The report notes that pictures of the couple appear on the account with Lt. Pakulis clearly dressed in his LCSO uniform.
Deverso-Pakulis maintains that she did not make the post and that her account was hacked, which she reported to Facebook.
The social media backlash from the post saw Undersheriff Carmine Marceno hold an impromptu press conference, condemning the “very disturbing” remarks and announcing the internal investigation into the matter.
“The Lee County Sheriff’s Office team is comprised of an extremely diverse group of individuals who depend heavily on one another, and we respect the differing cultures, genders, and backgrounds of this agency,” Marceno said in December. “The Lee County Sheriff’s Office finds these comments disgraceful, hurtful, and completely unacceptable. Today more than ever we need to come together and respect each other as individuals, regardless of race, gender, or cultural differences.”
Whether or not Deverso-Pakulis actually made the offending post, Lt. Pakulis denied any knowledge of the post, and according to the report, the internal affairs’ investigation of the deputy’s online activities show that he personally took no actions that would violate regulations.
With no additional evidence linking Lt. Pakulis, internal affairs decided to close the investigation without taking any disciplinary action.
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