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Deputy resigns amid investigation he picked up prostitute | News

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Deputy resigns amid investigation he picked up prostitute

Clearwater, Florida -- Pinellas County Sheriff's officials say one of their own resigned Monday after an investigation revealed he picked up a prostitute while off duty and engaged in other activities unbecoming of a law enforcement officer.

The sheriff's office says on the morning of Sept 12, 2012, Clearwater Police were conducting surveillance of a documented prostitute in the area when they spotted Deputy Robert Johnson in his personal vehicle circling the area in a way they said was consistent with someone trying to pick up a prostitute. They then saw Johnson stop the car and the prostitute climb in the passenger seat.

When the officers pulled Johnson over he told them he was giving the woman a ride home. He then identified himself to the officers as a deputy and that he was trying to help the woman who he saw waving her hands as if she was trying to get away from someone or something.

All this was a problem though because the two Clearwater Police officers testified under oath his actions and the prostitute's actions at the time contradicted his story. 

During Deputy Johnson's Administrative Review, he then contradicted what he told the officers on Sept. 12 -- and wrote in a document on Oct. 21 -- saying the woman never asked if he was a cop. When shown what he had testified to earlier, Johnson again misrepresented the facts in the case.

Clearwater Police never pressed criminal charges in the incident but it did spark an internal investigation in the sheriff's office that revealed other violations of professional behavior. 

One violation included Deputy Johnson tipping his ex-wife off to the fact she was the subject of a narcotics investigation. She was ultimately arrested. 

Another included leaving his shift early before being relieved by another deputy and taking his daughter to school in his cruiser without logging on to the CAD system in the department vehicle. All of this was reportedly observed by a St. Petersburg Police detective who was conducting surveillance on Johnson's home for an unrelated investigation.

Before Deputy Johnson decided to resign, he was found to have violated a total four violations and faced anywhere from a 15-day suspension to termination.


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