Two JSO police officers have been arrested for lying. Sgt. Marc Garza and Off. David Cervone were arrested on Tuesday for official misconduct, a third degree felony, and falsely reporting the commission of a crime, a first degree misdemeanor.
They wanted to get into what they believed was a drug house, but no one answered the door. They attempted to use a technique called “Knock and Talk”. This is when JSO does not have a warrant, but knock on someone’s door to try to get consent to search the house. When the person refuses to let them in, the police inevitably smell the odor of burnt marijuana or see drugs, paraphernalia, or a weapon in plain sight. This makes it easier for the police to search the house.
In the case of Garza and Cervone, since no one was home, Garza is accused of moving an air conditioning unit and his officers entered the house without a warrant. Neither of the officers has been charged with burglary in Jacksonville, but they should be. In order to sustain a charge of burglary, the officers had to enter the house with the intent to commit a crime therein. The crime the officers intended to commit was official misconduct. Police are not allowed to enter a home without a warrant and these officers clearly did not have one. These officers then went further. They intentionally falsified a police report by stating that a woman flagged them down and reported that she saw someone break into the house. There was no such woman.
All of these officer’s cases are now subject to scrutiny. How many other citizens have they arrested under false pretenses?