PORT RICHEY, Fla. (FOX 13) - The former mayor of Port Richey, who was removed from office after he fired as a SWAT team raided his house, spoke out from his jail cell.
Dale Massad railed against the news media, the Pasco deputies who put him in jail and the fact he is now being held without bond.
"Am I in Russia? ... Why are they keeping me? You explain that to me,” Massad asked a reporter from Vice.com in an interview from inside jail. Pasco deputies recorded the interview to use as evidence in the case.
In late February, a SWAT team raided the mayor's home because they said he was operating on patients without a medical license. During the raid, investigators said Massad fired shots at them, endangering the lives of the deputies.
“From the position I was in, I could not hit a police man," Massad said. "That's that."
Massad claimed that the shooting was in self-defense because he had no idea it was a SWAT team raiding his home in the middle of the night.
"I heard the stuff, I’m yelling, 'Who is it, who is it?'" Massad recalled during the interview. "I'm groggy. Its 4:30 in the morning, I jump out of bed because I’m scared to death."
Massad denied he was performing medical procedures without a license. He claimed the raid on his house was payback because, as mayor, he wasn't a fan of the police department and he tried to cut its budget.
After his arrest, city council had approved Terrance Rowe as interim mayor. However, the governor removed him from the position, and Rowe was arrested and charged as well, over a jailhouse phone call with Massad where investigators said they discussed retaliating against an officer in the case.
Port Richey City Council was supposed to approve a new mayor last night, but not enough council members showed up. Officials canceled and rescheduled the meeting for Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.