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[UPDATE] FDLE Charges Three Wakulla Corrections Officers

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

(UPDATE) 7-7-11 by Amy Long

Three Wakulla Correctional Institute employees find themselves on the wrong side of the law for mistreating inmates. One of the men even wounded himself to keep the story straight.

Captain Megan Dillard, Major Joseph Garrison, and Corrections Officer Andrew Gazapian face criminal charges for creating false disciplinary reports on 13 inmates and beating another.
Mug Shots are not available because of their positions.

Keith Kameg with FDLE says, "These disciplinary reports took privileges away from the individuals. Those reports, according to our investigators, were false."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement started their investigation back on March 24th.2011

FDLE Investigators say the false reports led some of the inmates to be placed in confinement dormitory.

During the transfer, Gazapian allegedly battered an inmate. Forcing him to the ground and using a chemical spray on him. The guard then filed a report that said it was the inmate who started the scuffle.

Gazapian went as far as to bite himself to make his story believable. "There was testing done and it was found the the inmate, in fact, did not do the biting." said Kameg.

Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections, "Secretary Buss immediately reviewed everything and he won't tolerate this kind of behavior that they've been accused of so, he terminated them."

FDLE says all of the inmates involved in the incident have been removed from the institution.

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[UPDATE] 7-7-2011

Secretary Edwin Buss' Statement

"I'd like to personally thank the Wakulla Correctional employees who
brought this matter to the attention of the Department of Corrections
Inspector General's Office. Those officers refused to allow bad
behavior. They have the courage and integrity worthy of the corrections profession. As for the officers arrested today, I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior they are accused of."

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[UPDATE] 7-7 1:15pm - Crawfordville, Florida -

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Office of Executive Investigations and the Department of Corrections yesterday charged three Wakulla Correctional Institution employees after an investigation revealed criminal actions against inmates of the institution. FDLE began investigating on March 24 after receiving information from the Florida Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General.

According to investigators, an unidentified inmate made a disparaging remark about Captain Megan Dillard which resulted in Dillard allegedly falsifying 13 disciplinary reports against 13 different inmates. The false disciplinary reports resulted in a loss of privileges and a transfer to a confinement dormitory.

While the inmates were being transferred to the dormitory, Corrections Officer Andrew Gazapian allegedly battered one of the inmates by forcing him to the ground and then using a chemical spray on him. Gazapian then falsified a report to say the inmate was being combative and had bitten him on the left arm. Investigation later revealed that the inmate was not being combative and that Gazapian had bitten himself and blamed the injury on the inmate.

After this inmate was transferred to the confinement cell, he was again sprayed three times with a chemical agent for allegedly causing a disturbance in his cell. The investigation revealed there was no disturbance and reports of the inmate’s actions had been falsified at the direction of Maj. Joseph. Garrison.

Garrison, 39, of Crawfordville, was charged with one count of official misconduct; Dillard, 31, of Tallahassee was charged with 13 counts of official misconduct, and Gazapian, 23, of Tallahassee will be charged with one count of official misconduct, one count of fabricating physical evidence, and one count of battery.

Garrison and Dillard were arrested and processed at the Wakulla County Jail. Gazapian was located by FDLE out of state and was ordered to turn himself in when he returns to Florida next week.

All of the inmates involved in this incident have been moved out of the Wakulla Correctional Institution.

The Office of State Attorney Willie N. Meggs, 2nd Judicial Circuit, will prosecute this case.

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[UPDATE] Wakulla County, Florida - May 4, 2011 - Noon -

Four Wakulla County correctional officers are on administrative leave pending Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

Two of the four being investigated are the institution's warden and assistant warden.

According to documents released by the Florida Department of Corrections, Warden Jeremy Vaughn, Assistant Warden Clarence Chason, Colonel Phillip Johnson and Major Joseph Garrison all received letters on May 3rd notifying them of their paid administrative leave.

Eyewitness News has contacted WCI and FDLE, but at this point, neither will say what the investigation is about.

An FDLE spokesperson says they will try to release some details today, but do not want to jeopardize their investigation.

Coming up tonight on Eyewitness News, we'll bring you the very latest details we learn into this investigation.
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Wakulla County, Florida - May 4, 2011 -

Clarence Chason, Assistant Warden, Jeremy Vaghan, Warden, Colonel Phillip Johnson, and Major Joseph Garrison from the Wakulla County Correctional Institution were placed on administrative leave on May 3. The four were issued letters from Edwin Buss, secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, advising them that they were being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of charges which could result in dismissal.

The leave was effective May 3.

WCTV will have more on the story, stay with us for details.


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