On April 12, 2012 - did the Volusia County Sheriff Department fail to arrest and/or take into custody a man with obvious and known mental health issues that posed a direct threat to himself and others?
Did Sheriff Johnson fail to follow Florida State Mental Health laws in his failure to take into custody Mr. Mark Carper?
Did political contributions by Mr. Carper's family influence the handling of the April 12, 2012 incident?
Could the April 30, 2012 murder-suicide of Mr. Franiamore and Mr. Carper have been prevented, if Sheriff Johnson had properly handled the April 12, 2012 incident?
Updated January 23, 2013
"Justice is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned."- Anatole France
UPDATED - JANUARY 23, 2013 Video of Sheriff Johnson's rationale for not Baker Acting Mr. Carper
FAILURE OF THE VCSO - TO PROTECT AND SERVE
Honestly, even we (VolusiaExposed.Com) were shocked to hear about the April 12, 2012 - Mark Carper vs. the VCSO incident.
VolusiaExposed.Com was advised of the incident via an anonymous email.
The below police records from the April 12th incident, appear to support the allegations within the anonymous email and the Daytona Beach News Journal article.
The Volusia County Sheriff Department, with purposeful intent, abandoned a known suicidal man, who was in possession of a fire arm, and who had made suicidal gestures and homicidal comments. In doing so, the VCSO left Mr. Carper to his own eventual demise, and left the citizens of that particular neighborhood open to Mr. Carper's irrational attacks. On April 30, 2012, Mr. Frangiamore would pay with his life, for the failures of the Volusia County Sheriff's Department.
VCSO Public Information Officer, Gary Davidson stated for the News Journal article that Mr. Carper had committed no crime, therefore the Sheriff department could take no action.
The VCSO reports clearly indicate that the two responding deputies had ordered Mr. Carper several times, at gun point, to drop his fire arm. Isn't failing to obey a lawful order of a law enforcement officer still a crime in Florida?
After Mr. Carper produced his gun, why did the deputies retreat and take cover? Maybe they felt that their lives were threatened - is that not the definition of "assault"?
If Mr. Carper hadn't committed a crime and / or did not meet the requirements to be taken into protective custody under the Baker Act, then why did the VCSO maintain a secure perimeter around his home for almost three hours, attempting to talk him out of the house?
In the August 12, 2012 - Daytona Beach News Journal article, when Sheriff Johnson was challenged on why Carper was not secured under the Baker Act, Johnson stated that - "Honestly, I don't think it would have changed a thing. At most, Mr. Carper could have been held under the Baker Act for three days."
Actually, a review of the Florida Baker Act does not support Sheriff Johnson's account. While the Baker Act only allows a patient to be held for three days pending an initial mental health evaluation (commonly referred to as - Involuntary Examination), upon completion of that initial evaluation / examination, the patient can be referred to the circuit court and held up to six months, for treatment and further evaluation (commonly referred to as Involuntary Inpatient Placement).
A few years back, the Florida Legislature reformed the Baker Act, to allow Circuit Court judges to order patients into involuntary outpatient placement. The reform would allow the courts and law enforcement officials to monitor these outpatients to ensure that they were complying with taking their medications. This reform was ironically championed by two Florida Sheriffs, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. In fact, both Sheriff Johnson and Eslinger co-authored an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel outlining the importance of such reform.
Obviously, having laws on the books to protect the public are only as effective as the agencies and persons we trust to enforce those laws. Sheriff Johnson had his reformed Baker Act, he had the tools in his law enforcement tool box to protect both Mr. Carper from himself, and the public from Mr. Carper.
However, on April 12, 2012 - Sheriff Johnson, for whatever reason, failed to address an obvious homicidal / suicidal man, that would, just 18 days later, murder his neighbor and kill himself.
Sheriff Johnson stated in the News Journal article that due to his lack of having "crystal ball" he could have not foreseen the tragic events of April 30th, on April 12th.
While we agree, that Johnson does not have a "crystal ball" - the citizens of Volusia County did NOT elect him to be Chief Swami Johnson, teller of fortunes and futures, but rather he was elected as the SHERIFF of Volusia County, Chief law enforcement officer. Sheriff Johnson needs to enforce the laws of Florida, with special attention given to the laws he begged the Florida Legislature to pass.
VolusiaExposed.Com is some what more fortunate than Sheriff Johnson, for we do not need a crystal ball, to clearly see two things. First, had Johnson enforced the laws of Florida on April 12, 2012 - both Mr. Carper and Mr. Frangiamore would most likely be alive today. Second, if Sheriff Johnson doesn't start taking his responsibilities more seriously, he will soon be replaced by someone willing to do the job.
DID POLITICAL FAVORS PLAY A PART?
In our investigation for this article, we discovered that the Carper family has contributed to Sheriff Johnson's political campaigns. The last contribution (April 23, 2012) was between the dates of the initial incident of April 12, 2012 and the April 30, 2012 murder-suicide.
We were interested to know if during the April 12, 2012 stand off with Mark Carper, did Sheriff Johnson or any member of the VCSO reach out to Neal Carper (Mark's father).
We sent the below email to Gary Davidson, the public information officer for the VCSO, in which we questioned whether Sheriff Johnson and Mr. Neal Carper enjoyed a personal relationship, and whether Mr. Neal Carper was contacted during the April 12, 2012 incident? As you will be able to see by reviewing the email - the VCSO ignored our questions.
Why do we (VolusiaExposed.Com) think that it was appropriate to ask whether the Sheriff (or his administration) spoke with the Carper family during the April 12, 2012 standoff?
Answer - for two reasons:
First, is it not strange that after nearly a three hour stand off with a known suicidal person, the VCSO would just call off the stand off, without even apparently knowing if he was alive in the house or not? Or without at least securing Carper's firearms to protect the citizens around him?
Second, this incident was similar in nature to the on-going Flagler Sheriff Department scandal, involving the death of Francoise Pecqueur? Didn't Mr. Fischer reach out to his friend, the Flagler County Sheriff, in order to protect his wife, Jamesine Fischer?
Sadly, additional concerns can be reviewed on VX's home page
If you found this article to be thought provoking, we (VolusiaExposed.Com) invite you to review, the below linked, Special Investigative Report, exposing law enforcement corruption with the State of Florida.
SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE'S SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE SERIES ON LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION