YULEE, Fla. -- A local sheriff's office is under scrutiny after allegations of abuse and corruption have surfaced.
The FBI and state attorney's office are looking into the Nassau County Sheriff's Department. They're looking into whether some Nassau County officers and detectives may have stolen evidence to sell on Craigslist. In one case, they're accused of beating up a suspect during questioning.
Action News poured through thousands of documents and hours of recorded conversations from the State Attorney's Office. In them, a former narcotics detective makes a lot of allegations. "Who are you supposed to tell. What are you supposed to do. It's like damned if you do, damned if you don't. Someone needs to know what's going on," said Brandon Smith.
Action News obtained a copy of Smith being interviewed by St. Johns County investigators. Sheriff Tommy Seagraves called them in to investigate his narcotics department earlier this year. "We're here discussing some possible issues with investigations within the narcotics unit where evidence and some other property may have been disposed of or gone missing inappropriately," said the detective to Smith.
Smith told investigators a detective was stealing stuff seized during investigations. "We had heard he was stealing stuff from informants and either selling stuff to them or selling stuff on Craigslist."
One of the items they found for sale under that detectives personal account on Craigslist. It was part of a car stereo system taken out of a car seized during an investigation. There were also allegations money was missing.
One of the more disturbing claims is in a video. You hear yelling and screaming and then see a detective push Felder Youman against a wall in the room and tell him to sit down. Youman had been arrested on drug charges. Youman claims a different detective grabbed him by the throat, and started choking him.
It's these types of instances that led Smith to start talking and start recording conversations with his peers. He says he tried talking to superiors, but, "I mean nothing's happened."
Smith also says he feared retaliation against him and his family. That's why he turned to the FBI for help. He secretly recorded conversations with his peers, some of them top level leaders in the department. He has since resigned from the sheriff's office.
The FBI says this is still an ongoing investigation. They couldn't tell Action News when it would be complete. Action News does know the detective accused of selling things on Craigslist has resigned, but has not been charged. We did find out the detective accused of hitting the suspect in the video is still at the office. We tried calling him for comment, but he hung up the phone.
The sheriff did release a statement to Action News Monday saying he wouldn't comment on the investigation or the allegations. He says he and the sheriff's office has "fully cooperated and will continue to fully cooperate with any lawful investigation.'
Sheriff Seagraves has already said he's not running for re-election.