TPD responds to questions about recently terminated officer

The department declined to reveal the officer’s disciplinary history
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 1:53 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tallahassee Police Department responded to questions from WCTV about the department firing an officer last week after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a man.

Derek Braxton is accused of grabbing the victim by the throat and attacking him several times before punching him in the face, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by WCTV. He was arrested on February 15, and the department terminated his employment six days later.

The former officer’s arrest and dismissal were not made public until the Tallahassee Democrat first reported it Thursday.

When asked why TPD did not publicly announce Braxton’s arrest and termination, Heather Merritt of TPD did not directly address or explain their decision not to publicize the events.

“Officer Braxton’s incident occurred during an off-duty capacity,” the TPD assistant director of communications and marketing responded in an email. “He was terminated on Feb. 21, 2023.”

Merritt also did not answer a question regarding if Braxton faced other disciplinary action during his time on the force. She said his previous discipline was not considered in the decision to terminate him.

“Every incident of discipline is based upon the facts and the evidence revealed during the course of an investigation,” she wrote.

Court records reveal the victim told police he had a falling out with Braxton about two years ago. He also accused the former police officer of making threatening comments and showing up at his home unannounced.

TPD declined to comment on if they were aware of Braxton’s history with the victim, stating “the judicial process remains ongoing.”

TPD Chief Lawrence Revell said in a written statement to WCTV that the department holds their employees “to the highest standard of the law.”

“Whether working or participating in events off-duty, there is an expectation that members will always conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the core values of this department and uphold the policies and procedures of the agency,” he wrote.

Braxton’s attorney Mutaqee Akbar questions whether or not Braxton was treated fairly.

“I think there was a lack of an investigation,” Akbar told WCTV. “It did not go through the internal affairs process at all. There were the allegations and then he was fired. And I think there’s a difference in what we’re hearing now about, you know, the discipline procedure for other officers.”

Akbar referenced a recent report from the Tallahassee Democrat in which Revell chose not to fire another TPD officer who tested positive for the drug Adderall while on the job. WCTV filed a public records request and independently confirmed the information.