Five-day suspension ordered for Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney

No criminal wrongdoing found
Posted at 12:31 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 04:26:55-04

Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney has been suspended for five days after an investigation that started with a citizen's complaint.

Transcripts of interviews during the investigation revealed most of the questioning surrounded Hobley-Burney’s interactions with city critic Rick Reed in light of him possibly speaking poorly about her son.

On April 26, Rick Reed emailed City Manager Nick Mimms, alleging that Hobley-Burney walked up to him saying “my son's gonna get you,” following a heated city commission meeting. Reed also said two weeks earlier, Hobley-Burney and two of her command staff came to the Golden Bear Restaurant, where he is employed, asking to see him.

He alleged that "her actions are intended and are received clearly to intimidate and coerce me.”

Hobley-Burney said she had been given information that Reed was sharing her son’s picture and speaking about his criminal record to people. She said in a transcript that she visited the restaurant to talk directly with Reed about his conversations with the public about her son.  “Once I found out that he was showing my son's picture, I was trying to correct it immediately and doing my best to correct it,” Hobley-Burney said.

Hobley-Burney stated she is protective of her family and didn’t want her family to be brought into any city issues, “hoping a conversation would eliminate any further displays of my son or bring my family into anything. I was hoping that I could reason with him to do that and my deputy chiefs that were there had no idea,” Hobley-Burney said.

Kevin Browning, HR Manager for the City of Fort Pierce, found that that the conduct displayed by Chief Hobley-Burney was improper and a violation of the City of Fort Pierce Rules and Regulations, as well as the City of Fort Pierce Police Department's Policy and Procedure.

As a result the chief was issued a five-day suspension effective Monday July 18. She is expected back on the job July 25.

The city said it is please the State Attorney found no criminal violations during its investigation.

The city says all internal and external investigations into Chief Diane Hobley-Burney are concluded and the matter is closed. 

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