Florida Sheriff Nick Finch arrested and investigated after personally freeing a prisoner from jail and altering paperwork to cover tracks
FDLE is investigating more complaints against the Liberty County Sheriff. Nick Finch was arrested for misconduct and suspended from office Tuesday.
Late Thursday more details were coming light FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey has received more complaints after the investigation and arrest was made public.
Agents say Finch altered or removed official documents and ordered corrections officers at the Liberty County Jail to free a man who had been arrested on gun charges.
Finch, age 50, is accused of covering up the arrest of Floyd Eugene Parrish after releasing him from the Liberty County Jail. Parrish had been arrested for carrying a concealed firearm without a license, a third-degree felony in Florida.
On March 8, Sgt. James Joseph Hoagland of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office arrested Parrish during a traffic stop after finding a .25 automatic pistol in Parrish’s pocket and a holstered revolver in the front seat, according to court records. Parrish was then taken to the county jail.
Finch arrived at the jail with Parrish’s brother and spoke to Parrish, after which Finch took the arrest file and told correctional officers Parrish would be released with no charges, according to investigators. Finch also ordered both the pistol and revolver be returned to Parrish.
“It could go from the fact that he could … all the way from he’ll lose his job and his law enforcement certificate to he could be reinstated,” Bailey said.
Finch was asked about Parrish’s release by FDLE investigators and Finch told him he “believed in Second Amendment rights.”
The FDLE crime lab analyzed the jail log sheet and discovered white-out had been applied over Parrish’s name.
Investigators also noted that Hoagland’s copy of the arrest affidavit and a computer record are the only known existing documentation of Parrish’s arrest. Neither the affidavit nor the computer record are recognized in court because they are not considered usable originals.
Finch’s attorney does not refute the story as told by investigators. “The records at the jail show exactly what happened in this case and the records speak the truth,” said Finch’s attorney Jimmy Judkins. “The sheriff looked at the facts and said ‘I believe in the Second Amendment and we’re not going to charge him.’ That is not misconduct at all. That is within the Sheriff’s prerogative whether to charge someone or not.”
FDLE says the official misconduct charge is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison if convicted.
Governor Rick Scott has named Carl Causey the Interim Liberty County Sheriff.