At­tor­ney re­leases ‘pro­ceed with cau­tion’ list

Doc­u­ment in­cludes cops whose cred­i­bil­ity Ayala’s team deter­mined had been called into ques­tion

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Tess Sheets and Jeff Weiner

More than three dozen cur­rent and for­mer Cen­tral Florida law enforcemen­t em­ploy­ees are in­cluded in State At­tor­ney Aramis Ayala’s Brady list, which alerts pros­e­cu­tors to “pro­ceed with cau­tion” when us­ing them as wit­nesses in crim­i­nal cases.

The list, which was re­leased pub­licly for the first time by the State At­tor­ney’s Office Tues­day, in­cludes law enforcemen­t per­son­nel from eight agen­cies across Or­ange and Osce­ola coun­ties whose cred­i­bil­ity Ayala’s team deter­mined had been called into ques­tion.

Those named on the list in­clude Or­lando police of­fi­cer Jonathan Mills — a for­mer OPD patrol of­fi­cer of the year re­peat­edly ac­cused of un­pro­fes­sional con­duct and ex­ces­sive force — and Robert Schell­horn, an­other OPD of­fi­cer whose ex­ple­tive-laden Face­book tirade prompted the agency to amend its so­cial me­dia pol­icy.

Also in­cluded on the list: Ton­jali Frost-Dani­ley, a for­mer Or­ange County Sher­iff’s Office lieu­tenant who was fired af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined she and her hus­band sup­plied co­caine for a “multi-kilo­gram level nar­cotics dealer” and par­tic­i­pated in a tax fraud scheme, along with other mis­con­duct.

Frost-Dani­ley was never charged with a crime.

In a state­ment, OPD spokes­woman Heidi Ro­driguez said half of the of­fi­cers in­cluded on Ayala’s list no longer work at the agency and two, in­clud­ing Mills, are not ac­tively pa­trolling the city.

The re­main­ing four, she said, “are in good stand­ing and main­tain their law enforcemen­t of­fi­cer cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the State of Florida.”

“Those of­fi­cers, along with the cur­rent 778 mem­bers of this agency, will be ex­pected to con­tinue per­form­ing their du­ties in keep­ing with the Depart­ment’s high stan­dards,” Ro­driguez said.

Michelle Guido, a spokeswom

an for Or­ange County Sher­iff’s Office, said only one per­son listed by Ayala is still em­ployed by the agency.

Deputy Jack­son Eti­enne, who is ac­cused of scam­ming a man he met while on duty out of nearly $30,000, is set for trial in Au­gust. He has been re­lieved of duty with­out pay since June 2019.

Ayala first an­nounced her plan to cre­ate the Brady list in July 2019. The list takes its name from a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that re­quired pros­e­cu­tors to turn over all po­ten­tially ex­cul­pa­tory ev­i­dence to de­fen­dants in crim­i­nal cases.

Brady poli­cies, which other pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fices across the coun­try have adopted, ex­tend that prin­ci­ple to re­cur­ring state wit­nesses whose con­duct has called into ques­tion their cred­i­bil­ity.

The names re­leased Tues­day were in­cluded on an “Alert” list, which sig­nals to pros­e­cu­tors that, while in­for­ma­tion about them may need to be dis­closed to de­fense lawyers, their con­duct is not “egre­gious” enough to ex­clude their tes­ti­mony en­tirely.

Ayala’s pol­icy also cre­ates a sep­a­rate “Last Re­sort” list. The pol­icy tells pros­e­cu­tors to treat wit­nesses on that list as “un­re­li­able and not cred­i­ble” and not rely on them for im­por­tant facts with­out cor­rob­o­ra­tion.

In an in­ter­view, Ayala said she de­cided not to im­me­di­ately roll out a Last Re­sort list af­ter con­sult­ing with OPD Chief Or­lando Rolón, who told her that of­fi­cers with that mark against them could not func­tion at the agency, though they would have to still be paid.

Ayala said she be­lieves some of the of­fi­cers named Tues­day should be on a Last Re­sort list, but called the Alert list a way to put agen­cies and of­fi­cers “on no­tice” that egre­gious con­duct in the fu­ture could land them there.

Asked what could put an of­fi­cer on that list, Ayala men­tioned OPD Of­fi­cer Michael Fa­vorit, Jr., who in 2015 went on an unau­tho­rized chase with an­other of­fi­cer and tried to cover it up. Fa­vorit was fired but gained his job back through ar­bi­tra­tion. For now, Fa­vorit is on the Alert list.

Ayala said she ex­pects law enforcemen­t agen­cies to sup­port the new pol­icy.

“We’re all try­ing to get the same thing,” she said. “We’re all try­ing to have a higher level of trust and a re­la­tion­ship with the com­mu­nity.”

Many of the 38 cops listed no longer work for lo­cal agen­cies or in law enforcemen­t, but Ayala said they were in­cluded on the list be­cause court cases that might re­quire their tes­ti­mony may still be open.

Among the of­fi­cers on the Alert list are:


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