Charlotte County corrections deputy fired for improper strip search, other policy violations

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
FILE: Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. (Credit: WINK News)

One Charlotte County corrections deputy has been fired, and another has been disciplined after an internal affairs investigation.

According to an internal affairs investigation report from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Corrections Deputy First Class Fredrick Frey and Corrections Deputy First Class Christopher Brady were involved in a series of policy violations while working the night shift from May 4 into May 5.

On May 5, an inmate used a jail tablet to report that an officer, later identified as Frey, entered their cell and locked the door behind them. According to the IA report, the inmate says Frey forced them to do a strip search in front of another inmate, then says Frey took off his pants as well.

That complaint initiated an investigation into the series of events that occurred during Frey’s May 4 night shift.

The internal affairs report says Frey violated several policies that night, beginning with the accusations of the strip search by the inmate. The report also says Frey was “slap-boxing” with an inmate and, in another case, kneed an inmate in the leg.

The internal affairs report says there was an active criminal investigation into Frey for the “slap-boxing” and kneeing incidents. The report says on July 18, the State Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute a first-degree misdemeanor.

During the investigation, Corrections Deputy First Class Christopher Brady was questioned because he was the deputy working alongside Frey. Brady told investigators that Frey was not acting normal and may have been intoxicated but said that he did not smell alcohol on Frey’s breath and was not an expert on intoxication.

Brady told investigators that Frey locked himself in a cell with two inmates for a strip search, according to the report. Brady told investigators that he left the area because he was upset due to the amount of work the two needed to do that night and returned later to let Frey out of the cell. Brady said the inmates and Frey were joking before Frey entered the cell.

In an interview with investigators, Frey admitted to entering the cell and closing the door behind him, saying he knew it was against policy, but said there was no strip search, and he never removed his pants. According to the IA report, Frey said the inmates in the cell were changing in preparation for haircuts and shaves and were at no point naked. He said they were bantering and joking around.

Brady told investigators about a “slap-boxing” incident between Frey and an inmate that took place later in the shift. He said two inmates had been taken to a room for haircuts and he saw Frey and an inmate horsing around before escalating to “slap-boxing.” According to the report, Brady said he didn’t know if anyone hit each other and never turned on his body-worn camera during the incident.

Frey told investigators that he was joking around during the incident but denied there was any “slap-boxing.” He told investigators that he didn’t touch the inmate and the inmate didn’t touch him.

The internal affairs investigation says that the incident involving Frey kneeing an inmate was captured on a camera in the jail. Frey told investigators that the kneeing was not intentional but rather an action to get the inmate into their cell. According to the report, Frey said the second kneeing was actually the inmate tripping over a phone chord on the ground and said that he never made contact with the inmate.

The report says Brady was present for the two kneeing incidents. Brady told investigators that he did not see them.

In the middle of the kneeing incident, the report says the video also captured contraband in the form of a bag of chips, which was passed by the inmate into the cell of another inmate. Brady told investigators that he did not confiscate the contraband because he thought doing so would make the inmates ‘act up’ and make the rest of the shift harder. Frey told investigators that he did not remember if he saw the contraband being passed.

According to the internal affairs investigation by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, neither deputy activated their body cameras during any of the incidents, and none of them were reported to supervisors.

Internal affairs determined Brady violated policies relating to body cameras, use of force, and the code of ethics by failing to report or act when required. Brady was handed an 82-hour suspension, moved to the day shift, and put on a year of disciplinary probation. He is also required to undergo training relating to body camera use and the importance of intervening.

Internal affairs found that Frey violated procedures relating to inmate searches, the use of body cameras, being untruthful, and breaking the law. As a result, the sheriff’s office fired Frey.

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