CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — The Clay County Sheriff is apologizing for “embarrassment my past personal decisions have caused.”
A source inside the sheriff's office told Action News Jax the sheriff left town again on Friday, 24 hours after flying home from Washington, D.C.
Action News Jax broke the story on Monday that sheriff Darryl Daniels called his own deputies for backup last week, claiming a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer was following him.
Action News Jax found major discrepancies between a memo from the State Attorney’s Office about the incident and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office report written by the responding officer.
The incident report written by a Clay County deputy said Sheriff Darry Daniels reported Cierra Smith was following him in her Jeep last week, and he believed he was in “imminent danger.”
Nowhere does it say the sheriff directed anyone under his command to arrest his ex-mistress.
That’s a departure from what a newly released State Attorney’s Office memo said: “The sheriff then directed the sergeant on scene to arrest the woman for stalking.”
Smith was arrested, but not booked into jail.
"I am not a stalker," said Smith. "At no point in time have I ever been a stalker."
According to the State Attorney’s Office memo, a lieutenant who questioned Smith told the Clay State Attorney’s Office Director “he did not feel comfortable putting this woman in jail and did not believe there was probable cause for the arrest. He told me that the Undersheriff and the chief were in agreement with him and that all believed they should let her go and drive her home at this point.”
The incident report also left out a major revelation in the State Attorney’s Office memo: Smith “informed the officers that she was pregnant but would not answer when asked if the baby belonged to the sheriff.”
Action News Jax asked the Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deputy Chris Padgett about the discrepancies.
“As you know, we have provided the documentation we have available. If the State Attorney’s report varies from that, it would be recommended to speak with them,” said Padgett in an email.
According to the memo, the State Attorney’s Office told a Clay County lieutenant the agency would not get involved, and the sheriff’s office would need to refer the matter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The memo said Assistant State Attorney Hector Murcia Bustos told the Clay State Attorney’s Office Director that Smith’s written statement in the sheriff’s office incident report “’creamed’ the sheriff.”
Here is Sheriff Daniels’ full written statement:
<i>"I want to take the time to acknowledge a series of personal incidents. I have, in the past, made decisions in my personal life that I truly regret. I sincerely apologize for the embarrassment my past personal decisions have caused. My family has asked that I not discuss private matters in public, so I will not be commenting further on the personal aspects of this issue. </i>
<i>As I have told the Clay County Sheriff's deputies and staff, I want you to know that every day of my career I have put on my uniform and done my level best to serve the people whom I am sworn to protect. It is an honor to serve with these members. </i>
<i>To the citizens of Clay County, I reiterate my mission: to keep you safe and battle crime in your neighborhoods."</i>
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