• Fired Clay County deputy had history of inmate supervision complaints

    By: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    An Action News Jax Investigation is exposing multiple complaints about a fired deputy’s supervision of inmates.

    We first told you last week that the Clay County Sheriff’s Office fired Deputy David A. Barnes after an investigation found inmates under his supervision got drunk and high while they were out working.

    REPORT: Clay County deputy fired after inmates under his supervision got drunk, high

    Internal affairs records say Barnes has been caught on video in the past staying in the van while inmates were out working.

    Those Clay County Sheriff’s Office records say Barnes was seen on surveillance videos sitting “inside the van for 60 out of 70 minutes” while inmates he was supposed to be supervising did landscaping at the courthouse.

    “When you’re not closely supervising these inmates when they’re out on work detail, for instance, they’re in one place and you’re in another place and you can’t really monitor their actions closely, again, that’s another public safety issue,” said Action News Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson.

    Barnes was informally counseled for that about a month before five inmates out working under his watch tested positive for alcohol or marijuana.

    Investigators said they found two Mello Yello bottles filled with an altered form of hand sanitizer to make it drinkable, two empty cans of tobacco and more, in Barnes’ inmate road crew van that day.

    An evaluation of Barnes in June said “poor inmate supervision.”

    A July evaluation said he was spoken to “several times on inmate supervision.”

    Barnes still has a pending internal investigation that began in September for “acting outside the scope of authority in Bradford County.”

    “Well, he has no jurisdiction in Bradford County. His jurisdiction, if any, is only in Clay County,” Jefferson said. “Has no jurisdiction, has no power. Can’t do it.”

    The Sheriff’s Office would not release any details of what Barnes is accused of doing in Bradford County until the investigation is complete.

    In an interview described in the internal affairs records, former deputy Barnes said he felt he was being treated unfairly because his father is a director at the Sheriff’s Office.

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