I Tasered the Sheriff

Not being completely obsessed with religious news, I sometimes find myself researching other items. Usually I restrain myself from going off-topic on this blog, but in this case the amusement factor is too high. From the AP, via Snopes:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Orange County’s sheriff used driver’s license records to contact a woman who wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper criticizing his staff’s use of Taser stun guns and describing him as fat.

Some say Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary violated federal privacy law when he had his aides use the records to get the address of Alice Gawronski. He sent her a letter accusing her of slander.

…In her letter, she referred to a news conference when Beary allowed himself to be zapped with one to demonstrate its safety. Seeing Beary “in an obvious state of duress” convinced her the stun guns should not be used, she wrote.

Gawronski also wrote that Beary appeared overweight and suggested that if deputies were more fit, they might not need to resort to zapping suspects.

Such a delightful combination of arrogance, vanity and stupidity deserves maximum world-wide exposure, and I figured that as a Brit living in Japan I ought to do my small bit to make sure that this puffed-up bully is shamed globally.

But actually, it turns out that there is a religion angle after all, as we peruse the official bio from the Sheriff’s Office:

Sheriff Beary holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.

The former qualification is, of course, completely worthless: Liberty University is run by Jerry Falwell and is rabidly anti-science, as this advert for Liberty’s upcoming Creationist Mega Conference demonstrates. And this website, set up by someone who doesn’t much care for Beary or his department, gives us this very unexpected titbit (click on “Abuse of Power”), recounting events from 1996:

Two commanders have been fired, a volunteer reserve deputy resigned, and three other officers were suspended following an investigation by the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department into allegations that members of the department abused their power while working as security guards for televangelist Benny Hinn and his World Outreach Center.

The two members of Sheriff Kevin Beary’s “inner circle” fired were Commander I Rusty Smallwood and Commander II Roger Clark. They were fired for falsifying off-duty records while working at the World Outreach Center, lying to investigators and abusing their positions as commanders. Smallwood also was charged with destroying records he kept on the protesters. The officers would travel with Hinn to his out-of-town healing crusades while still on the county payroll. Smallwood also admitted that he would make an additional $4,000-$5,000 a night selling tapes of his music at Hinn’s crusades.

Reserve deputy Christopher Hinn, the televangelist’s younger brother, voluntarily resigned.

Space Coast Web Journal also recounts this Orlando Sentinal column:

Scott Maxwell, in his Taking Names column, (March 25, Orlando Sentinel,) recounts Orange County Undersheriff Malone Stewart’s characterizion of [rival Sheriff] candidate John Tegg as a “Judas Iscariot” and Democratic rival Rick Staley [sic – should be “Staly”] as “the Antichrist.”  Does this mean that Stewart believes that Sheriff Kevin Beary is Christ?

Staly’s website (still up, although Beary was reelected) has much more on Beary’s shenanigans, including his getting of federal cash for safety literature that went to a company owned by his parents. The Orlando Weekly News also has this profile. Seems that is well as doling out a debased science education, Liberty wasn’t even able to instil some basic Christian ethics…

UPDATE: Jesus’ General offers the good Sheriff some words of comfort.

UPDATE 2: The Sheriff denies any wrongdoing in an “apology“.