An internal affairs investigation said police made mistake after mistake in March when they came across 22-year-old Jeremiah Ballam Jr. drunk on the street.
Ballam Jr. was last seen leaving Backstreets bar around 3:30 a.m. on March 15 and was later found dead in a Cape Coral canal.
His father, Jeremiah Ballam Sr., often thinks about if the two Cape Coral police officers helped his son. Instead, Ballam Jr. just lay there, on the ground, drunk.
Those two officers let him go and a short while later, Ballam Jr. walked into a canal and drowned.
Ballam Sr. said, “It hurt bro. It hurt bad. Bad because it was like 1000 percent preventable. They didn’t do their job. And my kid lost his life because of it. It’s (expletive) wrong. So wrong.”
WINK News got an 18-page administrative investigation explaining why the two officers, Davis Rios and Joshua Morgan, are no longer with CCPD. The investigation revealed both officers tried to defend their decision to let Ballam Jr. go.
Rios said Ballam Jr.’s behavior “Wasn’t severe impairment”. Morgan said, “He didn’t appear to be a danger to himself at that time”.
Ballam Sr. said, “You can clearly see you can clearly watch him and just general action not even knowing this person you can say he’s clearly impaired bro.”
For Ballam Sr., the acute pain of losing not just his son, but also his best friend continues.
“I still wake up in the middle of the night cause he worked at a restaurant and he would wake me up when he got home,” Ballam Sr. said. “And like just for a couple minutes we could hang out for a minute.”
Cape Coral Police Chief Anthony Sizemore fired Officer Rios. Police Chief Sizemore said he would have fired Officer Morgan but he quit before he got the chance. No word yet on whether the Ballam family will file a lawsit.