Deputy involved in Loxhatachee shooting was reviewed 50 times for use of force

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 11:06:29-05

Contact 5 has uncovered information about the Palm Beach County deputy currently on administrative leave after shooting and killing a man in Loxahatchee.

Since he joined PBSO in 2006, the Sheriff's Office has investigated Deputy Justin Rigney more than 50 times for use of force.

But that's not uncommon for K9 officers, according to law enforcement sources. 

Most of the incidents reviewed involve the use of Rigney's K9 when arresting a suspect. In all cases, the use of force was found to be "justified, necessary and reasonable." 

During Rigney's 10 years as a deputy, his personnel file shows he received at least a dozen letters commending his work, and was once called "an asset to the K9 unit."

Rigney was the subject of internal investigations twice.

He was verbally reprimanded for misusing a law enforcement database, and in another case, received a lecture after using a suspect's vehicle to make an arrest.

Before December's incident, Rigney had never been in a deputy-involved shooting. FDLE and PBSO are investigating Rigney after he shot and killed Ricky Whidden in December. 

Palm Beach County Sheriff deputies say Whidden threatened himself and his family.

Deputies say they tried to negotiate with Whideen, then shot him with rubber bullets. Rigney used real bullets when they say Whidden lunged at them with a knife. 

Ricky Whidden's family told reporters who covered the shooting that he never threatened the family, and called police in hopes of getting him help.

The family's attorney did not return a call for comment.