Saturday, September 12, 2009

Officer Reynaldo Smith Involved in Domestic Dispute with Girlfriend

Had a St. Petersburg police officer involved in a domestic dispute in Hillsborough County not resigned, he would have been fired, St. Petersburg police administrators say.

On Feb. 1, the officer, Reynaldo Smith, and his girlfriend, Onika Bess, were involved in a domestic dispute at their Hillsborough apartment, authorities say. A roommate of theirs heard a loud crashing in the couple's bedroom, became afraid, ran out of the apartment and called 911, according to St. Petersburg police documents released this morning.

Hillsborough sheriff's deputies arrived and tried to separate the pair, but Smith was uncooperative and belligerent during the investigation, the documents say.

Smith also refused to describe in full detail who he was, and failed to mention he worked for the St. Petersburg Police Department, the documents say. He also refused to be separated from Bess, yelled profanities and told her not to speak to deputies, the documents say.

When the deputies continued trying to separate the pair, Smith forcefully snatched his arm away from them and yelled something to the effect of "don't touch me,'' the documents say. He was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest without violence and was transported to a jail, where he was given a notice to appear in court.

Among other things, Smith lied about his being on the lease for the apartment, and he provided misleading documentation to back up his claim regarding the lease, St. Petersburg police documents say. Investigators also learned that Smith had refused to return a gun given him by the mother of his son, who is a Clearwater police officer, the documents say.

Smith was also told to stay away from Bess during the St. Petersburg investigation, but he was seen with her – a violation of an administrative order, the documents say.

Investigators also learned he had misrepresented his mileage when seeking reimbursement, the documents say.

Smith resigned July 29.

An administrative review board found Thursday he had violated a slew of policies, including one governing an employee's obligation to be truthful, another obligating an employee to do what a supervisor says and a third involving improper conduct.

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