Now after one reads this article, one is left with more questions than answers about the internal affairs of Holly Hill PD. Rommel Scalf had numerous previous complaints over excessive force using a taser gun. Instead of firing him for so many infractions he was instead given a desk job by then Commander Mark Barker, to head the Crime Prevention Community Relations Department. This included the ‘ Explorers’ , a youth group learning about police work. Barker is quoted as saying he ” thrived” in that position. That is until he used excessive force again with a taser gun he was not even allowed to have.
This story is not just a reflection on Rommel Scalf behavior. It draws a bigger picture of of the inner workings and mindset of the top brass in the Holly Hill Police Department. You certainly come away from the article feeling like there were many standards of professionalism not followed at the department for quite some time. I doubt Scalf thought he would even lose his job over it, but it did catch up with him.
This information was suppressed involving Janet Hawkins and Scalf during her trial when he arrested her. Holly Hill was withholding evidence to protect there own as long as they could.
Officer quits after Taser misuse
BY LYDA LONGA, STAFF WRITER
April 29 th 2011
HOLLY HILL — The Holly Hill policeman who scuffled with a Daytona Beach detective he arrested resigned after a string of incidents in which he misused a Taser, according to documents obtained this week.
In the latest incident, former officer Rommel Scalf pressed the trigger of his supervisor’s Taser — while it was still in the corporal’s hand — stunning a domestic violence suspect. But Scalf was not supposed to handle that weapon. Misuse of his Taser in other incidents prompted his supervisors to prohibit him from carrying one, according to Scalf’s internal affairs file.
Scalf, a 13-year Holly Hill officer, shot suspect Troy Foster the first time on a February afternoon. Following that, Scalf yelled for someone to give him a Taser and he shot Foster once in the side and again in the back while the handcuffed man was being led away by another officer, an internal affairs report shows.
Besides shooting a handcuffed suspect three times, Scalf also placed one of his colleagues in danger, the report shows.
Scalf, who resigned from Holly Hill police on March 17, declined comment for this article. But news of his resignation surfaced last week during the one-day trial of former Daytona Beach detective Janet Hawkins. Scalf arrested Hawkins on Sept. 22, 2009, at a traffic stop. Hawkins, 47, is awaiting sentencing on a charge of resisting without violence, a misdemeanor.
Testimony at the Hawkins trial and an internal affairs file at Holly Hill police revealed that the 45-year-old Scalf was not permitted to carry a Taser because of complaints about his use of force in the past.
In 2007, according to his internal affairs file, Scalf deployed his Taser 16 times. After that then-Police chief Don Shinnamon wanted him monitored closely, the internal affairs file shows.
In early 2008, Scalf met with trouble again, however.
On Jan. 12, Scalf blasted a handcuffed suspect with his Taser while the man sat in a patrol car. Scalf also kicked the man and punched him in the abdomen, his internal affairs file shows.
That incident prompted Police Chief Mark Barker — who was a commander at the time — to strip Scalf of his Taser-carrying privilege.
Shortly thereafter, Scalf was placed in the police department’s Crime Prevention Community Relations division, where Barker said Scalf “thrived.”
Then, on Feb. 28, police received the domestic violence call at the Foster residence on 10th Street.
Scalf responded as a backup officer for Cpl. Jeff Traylor — Scalf’s supervisor on that call — Cpl. Chris Yates and Officer Jason Weiss.
When police arrived at Foster’s home, he had bolted after striking his girlfriend on the chest. The suspect returned to the house then ran back out and Scalf gave chase. As Scalf ran, he tripped on some vegetation and cut his face when he hit the ground. Foster then ran into his home and locked himself in a bathroom.
That’s when Scalf — according to the internal affairs investigation — lost it.
He yelled at Traylor — his supervisor — to “kick in the door,” the report shows. Before the door was opened, Scalf yelled “When you see that mother (expletive deleted) shoot him!”
When the door opened, Foster was not violent; he verbally resisted when Traylor tried to handcuff him. At that Scalf yelled at Traylor: “Shoot that mother (expletive deleted) Jeff!” Traylor pointed his weapon at Foster as he assessed the situation, the report says. But that enraged Scalf even more, the report shows. He then yelled an obscenity at his supervisor.
At that point, Scalf advanced toward Traylor and pulled the trigger on Traylor’s Taser, the internal affairs report shows. A barb penetrated Foster’s torso, the report shows. As the suspect was handcuffed and being led away by Yates, Scalf yelled, “Someone give me a Taser!”
The officer who was leading Foster to the patrol car had to move to avoid getting struck by the Taser’s barb, the report shows.
At the time none of the officers at the scene knew Scalf was not supposed to have a Taser, the report says. It’s not clear whether one of the officers handed him the weapon or Scalf grabbed it, but Scalf was able to shoot Foster in the side as he walked away with Yates.
When Foster suddenly stopped, Scalf shot him again, this time striking him in the back, the report shows.
The officers who witnessed Scalf’s actions were stunned, the report says.
“It appeared to other officers and supervisors present that Officer Scalf was out of control, emotionally unstable and highly agitated during the encounter,” the report says. “His use of the term ‘Shoot that mother (expletive deleted)’ escalated an already tense situation.”
Barker said his officers are supposed to deploy their Tasers only when a person physically resists an officer’s commands.
While he said Scalf was “highly intelligent” and had received several commendations throughout his career with the department, Barker also said he cannot tolerate such behavior.
“His conduct at the scene that day was obviously unacceptable,” Barker said this week.