Lakeland, Florida -- The Lakeland Police Department has been under scrutiny following nearly seven months of scandal. Just in the past week, Police Chief Lisa Womack resigned and the state attorney released a scathing investigative summary about her resulting in the city manager putting her on administrative leave.
Now, Larry Giddens, the man appointed as the interim chief, is also in the hot seat.
Retired Lakeland Police Officer Jimmy Mock met Internal Affairs investigators Monday morning.He claims Giddens threatenedhim and Chief Womack put him up to it.
Mock says Giddens should have never been appointed to fill in for Womack even on a temporary basis."Your character is in jeopardy when you make that kind of threat to anybody."
Mock claimsGiddenstold him to stop posting negative comments on his personal Facebook account about Chief Womack and the recent negative headlines about the department.
Mock says he was told he'd lose his status as retired in good standing, be uninvited to the retirees dinner and he'd no longer be able to stepfoot inside the police department he'd worked for more than two decades.
"He should not be in that position until his investigation is over," Mock says.
The man responsible for appointing Giddens is City Manager Doug Thomas. He told 10 News by phone Monday afternoon that Giddens has filled in for Chief Womack on several occasions. He says he has seniority over another assistant chief who hasalso filled in for her.
Thomas admits he knew about Mock's complaint against Giddens and says once the State Attorney's Office reviewedthe caseand decided that Mock's first amendment rights had not been violated the investigation moved on to the City of Lakeland.
The City of Lakeland is heading up the investigation. A spokesman for the police department confirms, however, thatone of their investigators is part of the process. His jobis toensure the Officer's Bill of Rights are followed for Giddens.
Lakeland Police Department Sergeant Gary Grosssays,"Just like in the court system, you're innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to hang him out to dry before this investigation has been completed."
Grossadds that it's not uncommon for an officer to beassignednew dutieseven when they'rebeing investigated as long as the complaint against them is not criminal.
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