PBSO head of legal affairs announces retirement

Posted at 9:16 PM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 09:47:34-05

Weeks after the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office agreed to spend more than $1 million to settle lawsuits stemming from two separate deputy-involved shootings and just days after a federal jury awarded another PBSO shooting victim $23 million in civil damages, the agency's top in-house lawyer announces his retirement.

Colonel Joseph Bradshaw, who's also a certified law enforcement officer, told staff on Tuesday that he was retiring at the end of March PBSO spokeswoman, Teri Barbera confirmed to the Contact 5 Investigators.

Bradshaw who shares the same last name as his boss, but is not related to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has been with PBSO for more than 30 years and has served as the agency's top legal advisor for most of his career there, according to his online biography.

As the agency's top legal advisor, Colonel Bradshaw oversees all the agency's legal affairs including lawsuits, the agency's civil forfeiture unit, department-related crashes and anything else that might cause the agency culpability.  

Bradshaw or a member of PBSO's legal affairs team also show up at any deputy-involved shooting scene and while the agency often hires outside attorneys to litigate, Colonel Bradshaw remains involved in cases.

In the last month, PBSO has made headlines after agreeing to settle two high profile shootings, topping $1 million.  

Those settlements included the shooting of Jeremy Hutton who has down syndrome and was 17-years old when he was shot and wounded by a deputy in 2010 while taking his mom's mini-van out for a joyride.  

The shooting, which PBSO and the state attorney's office ruled justified, was captured on traffic camera surveillance video and showed Hutton driving away from the deputy not towards him like the deputy claimed. PBSO agreed to settle the civil case for $450,000.

A few weeks ago attorneys for Matthew Pollow's family announced PBSO agreed to a $562,000 settlement over his shooting death.  

Pollow was 28-years-old and called police for help with mental issues when he was shot and killed by a deputy in 2014 outside his apartment complex in Boca Raton.  

The deputy said Pollow was running towards him with a screwdriver.  But another deputy told a less dramatic account of what happened.  

The shooting was also ruled justified by the State Attorney's office and the deputy was cleared of any policy violations.

Then last week, a federal jury awarded 22-year-old Dontrell Stephens a stunning $23 million in civil damages after he was shot four times by a deputy in 2012.  

The shooting also ruled justified by PBSO and the state attorney's office left Stephens paralyzed from the waist down.