Bradenton police chief exonerated of allegations of wrongdoing, city mayor says
BRADENTON, Fla. - The Bradenton police chief has been exonerated after an officer accused her of searching a home and someone inside without a search warrant, according to the city's mayor.
The allegations came after an arrest was made at a Bradenton home back on July 14. Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan as well as other BPD officers were assisting probation officers with the Department of Corrections in arresting someone at the home on 21st Avenue West.
An officer claimed she saw the police chief searching a home and someone inside without a search warrant. The officer reported it to her superior but has since resigned.
RELATED: Bradenton police chief under investigation following officer’s allegations of wrongdoing
Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown said he instructed BPD's Internal Affairs Unit to conduct an investigation into the allegations against Chief Bevan. He also asked Retired Judge Gregory Holder to conduct a review of the investigation.
Mayor Brown released the results of the investigation and the findings of the retired judge who reviewed the investigation. Holder said there were no Fourth Amendment concerns or violations made during the incident back in July.
"Perhaps more importantly, Chief Bevan's actions were not only consistent with both the statutory and constitutional parameters but were also consistent with defined police procedures not only within BPD, but also within law enforcement agencies throughout this nation," the retired judge wrote in his conclusions.
Chief Bevan released the following statement about the findings from the investigation:
"My tenure and experience in policing has afforded me a firm understanding of the Fourth Amendment, and my exoneration solidifies this fact. The false allegations made against me not only served as a personal attack against my character and morals, it also caused embarrassment for the Bradenton Police Department. As a result of these findings, it is clear there are training opportunities within the agency which will be addressed immediately. While I remained confident of the outcome of this case, it was unfortunate to have it played out in the court of public opinion while I was legally required to remain silent. With this behind me, my priority as Chief of Police will continue to be protecting the citizens of our great community and ensuring the safety of my officers."
Chief Bevan was also exonerated of allegations against her for not wearing her department-issued body armor during the incident. Mayor Brown did say she admitted to not wearing her body armor, but she is not required to wear it because she's in a higher ranked administrative position.
According to the mayor, Bevan acknowledged that she set a bad example by not wearing body armor at the scene.
The officer of six years who made the allegations resigned after she said she was targeted by internal affairs and feared retribution for reporting what she saw.
Back when the internal investigation into Chief Bevan's actions started, Mick McHale, who is representing the Bradenton Police Union, called for an outside investigation.