Hollywood's Finest

After even a police chief called them unfit, these officers continue to patrol Hollywood's streets

When Miramar police arrived, Perez was unapologetic. "Vinicio said to me that Marioly needed to be taught a lesson, and he would not let her take the kids," Officer Michael R. Riggs wrote.

Miramar police filed misdemeanor battery charges against the Hollywood officer. But for a third time, the Broward State Attorney's Office spared Perez. "We didn't feel, given the evidence presented, that we could go to trial and get a guilty verdict," SAO spokesman Ron Ishoy claims.

"We've counseled Perez about his problems," Scarberry says. "The charge in Miramar was dropped. As far as we're concerned, the case is closed."

Officer Nick Singley was hired despite lacking "maturity and self-control," according to a psychological report.
Miami Herald
Officer Nick Singley was hired despite lacking "maturity and self-control," according to a psychological report.
Witnesses alleged that Officer Christina Rodriguez threw a beer bottle during a bar fight in downtown Hollywood.
Witnesses alleged that Officer Christina Rodriguez threw a beer bottle during a bar fight in downtown Hollywood.

BRIAN JOYNT

At 5 a.m. on January 29, 2000, following up on a burglary report, Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. John Eaves drove his cruiser down SW Second Street near the New River Inn. He spotted four women rushing down a fire escape. Eaves flashed on his lights and detained the women. One of them was carrying ecstasy and marijuana.

Just then, a van pulled up next to Eaves' cruiser. The driver, who was disheveled and had two black eyes, introduced himself as off-duty Hollywood Police Officer Brian Joynt.

At first, Eaves thought Joynt was just trying to help. "He saw the police cars just a block away and drove down to see what was going on," Eaves later testified. But the Fort Lauderdale lawman quickly became suspicious of Joynt. At the time, that area of downtown Fort Lauderdale was a haven for drug sales. What's more, Eaves and other Fort Lauderdale officers thought they had spotted Joynt's van trawling the area in prior weeks, according to a statement Eaves would later give to IA.

Eaves also discovered that one of the four detained women was Joynt's wife, Charlotte, who was not carrying drugs.

Eaves didn't have probable cause to arrest Joynt or his wife, but he found the circumstances so peculiar that he called Hollywood Police Deputy Chief Melvin Standley (now chief of police in Miramar). The next morning, Standley informed Chief Scarberry, who launched a review of Joynt's performance. That review discovered a steady decline in performance, according to a personnel report.

Given Joynt's background, the concern should have come as no surprise. He was hired in January 1991 despite a driving record so poor -- 12 traffic violations and a suspended license -- that it had caused him to be rejected from other law enforcement agencies. The number of agencies is not specified in reports because it was never investigated. However, a psychologist who found Joynt fit for duty noted that "a poor driving record has caused the candidate to be rejected by other police departments." Hansen's report classified Joynt as one of ten officers with moderate problems on his application.

Joynt had friends in the department. He listed James Gibbons, a detective at the time, as a personal reference, and Lt. Richard Hynds of IA wrote a memo recommending that Joynt be hired.

The 2000 review of Joynt's performance discovered:

An unnamed community activist alleged that, while on duty patrolling Hollywood Beach, Joynt would often leave his unattended police jeep on the sand in front of a bar every night for three to four hours.

Though Joynt was notified one month in advance to wear a crisp street uniform, he showed up at a City Commission meeting in his beach uniform. "His shorts were dirty, he wasn't shaven, his socks were torn up, and he had a pair of older sneakers that were also torn up," Lt. Frank McGarry told investigators.

For a three-month period, Joynt's paperwork was "totally inaccurate," McGarry said.

An anonymous tipster reported that Joynt's wife was driving his city vehicle.

From December 1999 to January 2000, Joynt took an "abnormal period of time" for sick leave. Neither he nor a member of his family had an illness that would explain the need for time, a personnel report states.

"I believe that Brian's work product was going downhill," said his supervisor, Richard Nardello, who now works in the department's IA unit.

The report states that Joynt did not deny many of the allegations but does not discuss specifics. New Times asked to interview Joynt for this article. The department refused.

Based on the report's findings, Deputy Chief Standley testified that he did not have "faith" in Joynt's ability "to carry a gun on the street." He put the officer behind a desk.

Chief Scarberry ordered Joynt to take a drug test. "I think a sworn police officer is held to a higher standard than a record clerk or a civilian employee...," Scarberry testified. "To be involved in that sort of activity is just unacceptable and intolerable."

The results of the drug test were negative. But Scarberry discovered that the test did not scan for ecstasy. Hollywood police sent a sample of Joynt's hair to another testing facility, which reported a positive for "chronic use" of ecstasy.

Joynt told IA investigators that the result was a false positive. The problem, he suggested, was that he was taking an over-the-counter nasal medication and a prescription medication for recent dental work. Or perhaps, Joynt said, someone had slipped something into his drink at a club.

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