Shortly before a hearing on the shooting of an unarmed man, Orange County, Fl., Sheriff Kevin Beary told deputies they do not have to appear before a citizens review panel that investigates allegations of excessive force. The Orlando Sentinel says that prompted one Citizen Review Board member to storm out of the hearing, ending the proceedings before any cases could be heard. “This is nothing else than the sheriff exercising his muscle,” said board member Luis Gomez. “He doesn’t want this board to function.”
Earlier this year, Beary and the review board struck a deal that was meant to usher in a new era of cooperation. Critics questioned whether Beary was retaliating against a board’s move for more independence from the department it reviews or if he was courting the Police Benevolent Association, which is expected to announce its endorsement in the sheriff’s race soon.