The night of March. 17–St. Patrick’s–then-Flagler County Sheriff’s Cpl. Rob Myers was pulled over by deputy Seth Green on Palm Harbor Parkway in Palm Coast. Myers’ pick-up truck had brushed very close to Green as Green was starting a traffic stop on someone else. Green sped after the pick-up instead, unaware that Myers, a colleague, friend and former supervisor was at the wheel.
FlaglerLive previously reported the consequences that followed after an internal investigation found Myers in violation of several Sheriff’s policies. The violations could have gotten him fired. He was demoted instead. (See: “Flagler Sheriff’s Cpl. Rob Myers, Who’d Been Drinking and Driving, Demoted Following Heated Stop.”)
The previous report was based only on the investigation. Although a request for Green’s body cam video was filed on Aug. 30, the day after the publication of the report on the investigation, it took the Sheriff’s Office 29 days to fulfill the request as the public information office repeatedly promised to deliver the footage, only to delay again and again, then issuing a bill on Sept. 14 for 3.5 hours of work to redact the video. The sum total of redacted footage (the blocking of Myers’s drivers’ license and license plate, which are exempt from public record disclosure) amounted to 7 minutes and 33 seconds. The first 15 minutes were not delivered until Sept. 19, the remaining 27 minutes not until Sept. 29.
Both video segments appear at the foot of the article.
The 48 minutes of the incident, 42 of them captured on Green’s body cam video, are a rare look into the equally rare occurrence of a law enforcement officer policing another from the same agency.
The Sheriff’s Office in its law enforcement capacity mostly comes off well: Green proceeds as anyone pulled over would want a law enforcement officer to proceed. He is professional, calm, remarkably patient, and never loses his cool despite finding himself in a clearly intolerable position. His conduct and words make it obvious that he did not want to be there even as he was left dangling for a long time, without supervisory support, to face an angry Myers.
The Sheriff’s Office as represented by Myers–to the extent that it was the Sheriff’s Office being represented, rather than Myers’s personality–does not come off as well. Myers repeatedly met Green’s deference with contempt, his professionalism with defiance and his requests with ridicule, flouting Green’s police procedures in a way no cop would tolerate long from civilians.
Myers had been drinking. He acknowledged in his interview with Randall Doyle, the internal investigator, that he’d had a few beers spaced out over many hours at European Village. In the video he appeared in control of his capacities–certainly in control enough to argue lucidly and logically, and repeatedly, if angrily and snidely, even as Green was merely writing him a warning and trying to arrange a courtesy ride for him and Nancy Malheiros, another off-duty cop who was with Myers, and who was inebriated to the point of sickness.
Public agencies and private companies routinely, and at times unfairly, discipline their employees’ off-duty behavior. That was only partly the case in the Myers investigation. After the internal affairs investigation, Myers, a nine-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was demoted to road deputy and placed on 18 months’ probation–not for drinking, but for violating the law when he sped past Green, for “unbecoming conduct,” a violation that could have gotten him fired.
The agency has no rules against drinking off duty. Rather, Myers was disciplined for violating the agency’s policy that employees will not behave offensively or compromise their moral conduct, even off duty, if the behavior brings “disrepute” to the agency.
Though Myers’s violations were serious enough to warrant termination, he signed a “last chance agreement,” brokered by the police union.
During the interactions between Myers and Green, Myers alludes to an unexplained conflict between them, an undercurrent that was fleshed out to some extent in the internal investigation: Greene was involved in an attempt to steer the ranks toward a different police union. Myers, a supporter and representative for the existing union, had objected, and the two men’s friendship had deteriorated. Myers claimed–against all evidence–that the traffic stop was an attempt by Green to tarnish him.
What follows is a narrative of the incident based on the 42 minutes of Greene’s footage.
Green, who’s been with the agency five years, was executing a traffic stop on an unrelated person on Palm Harbor Drive, his emergency lights on. His body camera shows him parking the patrol car on the shoulder and starting to get out of the car just as a pick-up truck is heard approaching and speeding past Green, inches from grazing him. “Holy shit!” Green says.
He gets back in his patrol car, catches up to the truck, sounds the siren a couple of times and pulls over the truck.
“Is there a reason you almost hit me?” Green says as he approaches the driver’s side. Green started the traffic stop not knowing who was driving the truck, and posed his question before realizing who was at the wheel.
“I didn’t almost hit you,” Myers replies. The tone is entitled, condescending. Myers is in a t-shirt, a hand on the wheel, another holding a sandwich. He’s leaning back and away from the window, his cap pulled back. Nancy Malheiros, another sheriff’s deputy, also off duty, is in the passenger seat.
“Are you kidding me,” Green says. It’s not a question. He paces away from the truck, then back to Myers. He’s in disbelief after finding out who’s at the wheel.
“Seriously?” Myers tells him as Green walks up to the window again.
“You literally almost took my door off.”
“Bro, I was six feet away from your door,” Myers says, chewing a bite from the sandwich. He was not six inches away. Two freeze frames from Greene’s video (here and here) show the truck inside the double-yellow line, on Green’s side. It is both procedural custom, and, since 2002, Florida law, to slow down and give emergency responders’ vehicles wide berth when passing them on roadways, for their safety.
Green walks back to his patrol car, sighs, sits down, sighs. Pulls a smartphone down. Sighs. He does not want to be in this situation. He exchanges a few words with the 911 dispatch center. Sighs. Dials his phone.
A voice is heard asking him what’s going on. Green describes the close call: “The truck did not vacate the lane or slow down and I had to like, lean up against my car to avoid getting hit and he almost took off my door.”
“Was he drinking?” the voice says.
“Appears so,” Green says. The call ends. He walks back up to Myers, taps on the window frame and asks for his license and registration to write “a written warning or something.”
“Dude, I was six feet away. I-I literally went over the double solid line,” Myers says.
“No you didn’t. I had to duck back into my car because I couldn’t go around my door–”
Myers snaps: “watch your video.”
“Let me get your stuff so I can go write a written warning,” Green asks again.
“It’s on the tag,” Myers tells him, though a cop would never accept that response from anyone pulled over: it’s unlawful to drive without a license. Legally and procedurally, a driver is required to obey a law enforcement’s request for a license. Green walks behind the truck then back to hear Myers: “You’re going to play this game.”
“I’m not playing a game,” Green says, telling him it’s the “absolute” last thing he wants to do. .
“You are,” Myers says, by then his license in hand. “You’re going to play this game. There it is.” Green walks back to his car, sighs again, repeatedly and makes another call to describe the situation to a deputy who’s pulled over. “And, he’s one of ours,” he tells the deputy. He writes the warning in his car. “So flustered I’m writing in the wrong boxes,” he says. He speaks with another deputy on the phone, again retelling the close call and how Myers “refused to give me all his information, because I told him I was going to write a written warning.”
At 10:34 p.m. Myers turns off his body cam to review it, particularly the segment showing Myers’s truck driving by him. He ensures that the other deputy at the scene keeps her body cam on. At the time, the two active-duty deputies are by Myers’s patrol car and there appears to be no interaction with Myers or Malheiros.
The body cam is back on at 10:40. He walks back up to the pick-up truck and asks if Malheiros is all right. “She’s fine,” Myers tells him. “I’m sick,” Malheiros says. Green asks Myers to step out and away from the cab of the truck: “I want to talk away from her, so that I can clarify that you’re sober, ‘cause I’m not smelling her throwing up alcohol everywhere. I’m doing the best I can.”
“Are you?” Myers says, standing in front of him. Myers then walks up close to Green, again in a manner no cop would tolerate from an individual in a similar situation, crosses his arms, and looks at Green, who asks him if he has somebody who can pick him up.
By then Green has decided to arrange a ride for Myers. It’s not a favor. It’s not unusual. Suspected drunk driving is a misdemeanor. Deputies have discretion in all misdemeanor stops on whether to arrest or not, using the totality of the circumstances to make their decision. Myers says he’s fine, and again claims he was on the “opposite side’ of the yellow line.
“You never crossed [unintelligible], you never slowed down, Rob, it’s clear as day,” Green tells him.
“Bullshit,” Myers says, pausing, then, looking directly at the body cam: “I hope your video’s playing. I’m glad it is.” He is wearing a kilt. It was St. Patrick’s Day.
Green, who is maintaining his cool, tries again, addressing Myers with the professionalism required from the situation and the familiarity the two men had developed over their working relationship. “Rob. There’s absolutely zero need, because this is the last thing I wanted to be involved in tonight.”
“This is all you want to be involved in,” Myers says.
“Why would I ever want to be involved in this?”
Myers laughs. “We’re all well aware,” he says (himself obviously aware the body cam is rolling). The two have a back and forth, Myers more heated than Green, about their friendship, the close call, about a commander on his way, about a potential field sobriety test. “This is where you’re going with this,” Myers says with a disbelieving tone. “I know the game, Seth.”
“There’s zero game, Rob,” Green tells him. “This is making me sick to my stomach.”
“No, it’s not,” Myers says, standing in front of Green as Green asks him to get his phone and arrange for a ride. “You’re a joke,” Myers says, walking to the truck. “You are a joke. And you can keep that camera rolling all you want.”
“Well, policy says we have to now, you know that.”
“Yeah. And I know how much you follow policy. I know exactly how much you follow policy.”
“Let’s get your phone and sit on the tailgate, Rob.”
Myers sits back at the wheel, an arm on the wheel, another arm crossed, as in a huff, not answering Green. “I don’t know what to do,” Green tells him.
“You’re trying to win your game,” Myers says.
“I’m not trying to win any game.” Green says. “This is a no-win situation.” The two have a debate about the point, with Green wondering how he could possibly benefit him to stop a cop and hear it from his colleagues. Green walks away, telling Myers to try to get a ride. Myers is heard yelling something out of his pick-up’s window as Myers sits back in his car, wondering where the commander is. “I don’t know what else to do. There should be a supervisor here,” he says. It is 10:47. When he checks whether Myers has secured a ride yet, Myers tells him, “I am my ride.” Green repeats the option: a field sobriety test (if Myers intends to drive), or a ride. Myers wants to debate again.
“Can you get a ride, so that I can resolve this before a commander shows up,” Green says. “If you can get a ride here, I cut you loose with a warning, we’ll be done. Why is that so hard to do? We got people riodes plenty of times. Everybody does it. Sergeant told me handle it like I would anything else. I’ve let people [get] rides before. So if you can get a ride here Rob, situation is done and over with.”
Again acting in a way no cop would tolerate of any civilian if the situation were reversed, Myers sits at the wheel as if oblivious to Green. “I’m giving you a way out.”
“All right,” Myers says, only then saying: “Give me my license. I’ve got a ride on the way.” When Green tells him he has to wait until the ride shows up, Myers disputes it, saying Green doesn’t always wait for the person’s ride to show up, and that he’s lying if he says so. Then he’s back to staring at Green as Malheiros keeps repeating Green’s name, as if to tell him to desist. She would do so again moments later.
At 10:54, Malheiros’s son arrives and walks toward the truck, and keeps walking as Green tells him repeatedly, then yells, to “come here.” Malheiros, out of the truck, says it’s her son. “I don;t care, Green says, “He’s not allowed to approach the car until I’m done.” Myers is also out of the truck, and now it’s Malheiros’s son yelling at both his mother and Myers to get back in the truck so he can speak with the deputy. He works out an additional ride, since now two cars have to be removed from the scene.
“They’re both intoxicated and not listening to reason,” Green says.
Cmdr. Brian Finn shows up at 10:57, telling Green to handle the matter as he would any other and to cover all bases. Finn doesn’t engage with Myers (“There’s no need for me to get involved,” he’s heard saying). Myers is still out of the truck, standing arms crossed, defiant, with Jenkins standing by him. Back in his car, Green asks Jenkins if she can get Myers to “stop posturing, being a jerk about everything.” Green says he wants to “put this whole 40-minute fiasco behind us.” At that point, it’s the wait for the rides, which stretches past 11 p.m.
When the rides appear set, at 11:05, Green walks back out to a ramrod Myers, who doesn;t look at him. When Green passes him the written warning, Myers throws it over his own shoulder., but takes the license. “Glad you’re happy, Seth,” he tells the deputy.
The body cam is turned off at 11:07 p.m.
Great example this deputy is displaying.Should be fired.
The boys in blue sure do hate it when they learn that, in exceptionally rare circumstances, the rules apply to them too.
It’s sad that the circumstances are exceptionally rare…I think too many of them are just thugs with badges.
With the attitude of “the rules don’t apply to me”, this joker doesn’t deserve to be on the job. I give Green a lot of credit for handling an awkward situation very well.
Apparently not. I would’ve been arrested long before Nancy’s son showed up.
Deputies in this county can beat there kids, wives, drive drunk, use there vehicles for personnel business and sleep during there shifts. The rest of us would be arrested and fired. We need to give Staley a couple of million more so we can hire more.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
The Sheriff and his Deputy’s are generally obliging. Keeping the area safe, while not being overly heavy-handed.
Its a pleasure to live here.
Proves that there are good cops and bad cops. I few sorry for the good cop.
Rogue Cop. Should have been fired. Good luck dealing with that drunken entitled LEO.
S. Peters says
If I acted that way to an officer, my butt would have been carted to the green roof inn. Despicable behavior. Rules for thee, but not for me. WOW
I hope if I get stopped for drunk driving they will call me a ride and let me go. This is worse than Mayberry !!! Finn has a stellar record too – responsible for some ones death in a wrong way driving incident !!!!
Uh No. says
You are totally incorrect about B. Finn being “responsible for someone’s death.” Please do your research.
Wrong Finn buddy
Palmibu Barbie says
That’s the wrong Finn you’re talking about
Concerned Citizen says
Lot’s of poor judgement exercised by Myers. And Cmdr Finn. Who was obviously afraid to do his job.
Another case of major issues with this agency that continue to mount. And yet the Sheriff seems little concerned. Also tired of these sweet heart deals that get cut because of the badge. Accountability matters. Drunk Or Sober. Deputy Myers You took an oath to do a job. And you pissed all over it and your agency. Hope you’re happy.
@Sheriff Staly you need to do some major house cleaning sir.
@ My fellow constituents.
Is this the type of behavior we want our Sheriff to keep allowing? This is what happens when a Sheriff stays in office for years unchallenged.
The Truth says
Myers shouldn’t have been demoted, he should be fired. I’m sick and tired of the holier than though attitude of some cops. This man is driving drunk and could kill someone. On top of that he’s acting out of control with this deputy who gave him a lot of leniency.
Mr. “Green Roof Inn” who doesn’t tolerate anything from the bad guys should look at his guys in Blue and expect the best from them. This isn’t the best. Myers should be fired, period.
Flagler lone star says
If that was a citizen then he would of went to jail for resisting without violence or reckless driving. Sounds like a double standard! It’s clear there is a culture of this at FCSO past and present. Maybe FDLE or Governors office should be called to investigate the agency from bottom up.
House of Yellowcard says
Deputy Green: Is there a reason you almost hit me?
Cpl. Meyers: Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin
I came to win, battle me that’s a sin
I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up
Try and play the role and yo the whole crew’ll act up!
Florida Girl says
And a man like this in charge of other officers? Well, you can see why demoting him was a solid decision. Got that whole cop complex of the rules and laws do NOT apply to me or mine. If he doesn’t get fired for this, shame on the county. Thank God for that body cam.
Robert Joseph Fortier says
I have to day that the officer in the truck doesn’t appear to be intoxicated to me. No slurring, no stumbling, etc.
But hey…who knows?
Myers behavior is reprehensible. He should not be allowed to be a cop. That attitude is why many civilians despise and distrust cops. He makes all cops look bad.
As a retired LEO, watching these two videos nearly makes me sick! Kudos to Deputy Green for remaining calm and showing the utmost professionalism. However, the driver of that pickup, being suspected of being under the influence, SHOULD have been put through the full DUI test protocol, or at least given the opportunity to refuse the tests. He was being so disrespectful toward the deputy who pulled him over and was either intentionally lying about nearly hitting the deputy or too intoxicated to even know how close he had come to hitting him. Either way, there was sufficient justification for doing much more than was done that night to determine if that off duty corporal was legally over the limit. There needs to be, if not already done, a full review of internal investigation policies and a written policy to address the deficiencies observed in this incident that go beyond just demoting that driver. I’m not saying Deputy Green needs to have any disciplinary action taken, because he did his best under the circumstances, but there is no longer any tolerance (at least where I came from out on the west coast) for fellow LEOs getting out of DUI incidents, particularly when, as in this case, he very nearly hit the deputy as he sped by in his truck. Zero tolerance! Are we still in the “good ole buddy” days of backwoods slapping such an intoxicated LEO on the back, giving him a free ride home, and minimizing the incident out of an outdated and wrong-headed application of arrest and prosecution for law breakers who happen to carry a badge and abuse their position? I just don’t see the level of action from the sheriff’s office that one would expect to occur, to include a public statement from the sheriff that anyone in his department pulled over for investigation of DUI will be treated like any other driver would be treated under the same circumstances. That is what is needed to send a very strong message that such behavior will NOT be tolerated within FCSO. When I was promoted to lieutenant in my agency, I had the responsibility for writing and implementing such policy, so I know what is supposed to occur. I hope I am wrong, but if not and FCSO has not already made this abundantly clear to its employees, when can we expect to see this happen?
Samuel L. Bronkowitz says
Too bad defense attorneys in flagler can’t use this incident to get everyone off for drinking and driving
He will be back on patrol in no time !!!! Should have spent the night in the green roof hotel !!!!
Finn should be disciplined too for not doing his job. Why did he even come out?
Imagine if it was Joe Mullins that was drunk and tried to get out of it. Staly would be on national T.V. putting him down. It’s funny how so many people had comments about Mullins and here you have an obvious drunk deputy that was let go and disciplined with a slap on the wrist.
Common Man says
Marty is 100% correct. Furthermore, it is obvious that the only reason this went as far as it did is because Officer Green already had his body-cam running from the prior stop.
It is painfully obvious that Officer Green was aware of that fact as well.
Otherwise, it would have “ never happened”. Just another 8 hours of beer drinking wearing a kilt in a local pub and a quick drive home to bed.
All of the people who have been charged with drinking and driving by this officer should have their cases thrown out immediately. This is disgusting. And Sheriff Staly you sir just lost your re election with this one.
L. Foley says
A couple takeaways from watching the full video. First is that the son arrives and Deputy Green is talking to him about the incident and drinking situation and the son reacts with “I know”. It appears he’s acknowledging that these two deputies have an on-going drinking possibly disruptive behavior problem. Second, I’m wondering why (former) Cpl. Myers did not shut down the female deputies drinking, so as not to allow her to reach the point that she was extremely inebriated and vomiting (can’t see if it’s out the truck window or if she opened the door and vomited on the sidewalk). Some poor soul had to clean that mess up. If Myers was sober, as he states he was, why on earth did he allow her to continue drinking. I don’t want to start a war here, but isn’t she a School Resource Officer? Not a very good role model for our students. I believe Myers should have been terminated as his body language tells me he’s a very aggressive individual and lacks the ability to deescalate situations, rather pour gasoline on the fire. He’s an angry person with control issues. Apologies do not remove the fact that his actions could have cost the life of Deputy Green.