STUART, Fla. - Lieutenant Michael Ewing's personnel file holds documentation from an internal affairs investigation that was sustained, finding he "violated Martin County Sheriff's Office policies."
On October 8th, the Stuart wife of a law enforcement officer submitted a citizens complaint to the sheriff's office, alleging Lieutenant Ewing unlawfully accessed the state Driver and Vehicle Information Database to illegally search for her drivers' license information.
Internal Affairs investigated and sustained the complaint, concluding his actions violated two policies: Use of Communications Facilities, and Political Activity.
Departmental policy states the following: "Sheriff's Office personnel shall not engage in political activity while on duty."
According to an email the lieutenant sent in August to a sheriff's office administrator, he claimed he had received a personal email from the couple, so he accessed their drivers license photos to refresh his memory.
In the citizen complaint, the victim said that was not true, and she did not know him. An internal department memo said Lieutenant Ewing claimed the email was about the couple "changing political support from Representative (William) Snyder to a different candidate."
The internal investigation found the victim had sent an email to the "Snyder for Sheriff" campaign, saying, "We have changed our mind regarding the candidate we have chosen to support." The investigation notes: "Fifteen hours after that email was sent, Lieutenant Ewing then accessed the driver license records of both victims."
Lieutenant Ewing received a written reprimand from the sheriff's office. When NewsChannel 5 reached out, he did not want to comment on the allegations.
Lieutenant Ewing has received dozens of thank-you notes from community citizens, thanking him for more than two decades of outstanding service. He has also received a "Distinguished Service Award" and a "Lifesaving Award."
The victim is pursuing criminal charges against the lieutenant.