By any standards, what happened next defied logic and Burke's personal history. She was accused of attempting to smuggle her service gun into her dorm room; being uncooperative and downright rude to her federal instructors; and even getting into a fight with a roommate during which Burke was accused of pulling out a knife. Burke's behavior had her roommates so worried that they barricaded themselves in their dorm rooms at night.

At the time, Burke, who declined to be interviewed for this article, told the Palm Beach Post that she was going through a long-distance breakup as well as a nasty bout of asthma. She also claimed she was being harassed because she declined to go on nightly drinking romps with fellow students. As for the knife, she says, it was just a butter knife.

Still, FBI officials made some calls — and the PBSO brass ordered Burke back to West Palm Beach a month shy of graduation. She was immediately suspended pending an investigation by the same I.A. squad she once headed. She was found to have violated standards of conduct, courtesy rules, and official procedures, according to the Internal Affairs file of the investigation.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is closely involved in matters of discipline, and critics say he hands down harsher punishments to women.
Photo provided
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is closely involved in matters of discipline, and critics say he hands down harsher punishments to women.

An embarrassed Bradshaw, in the midst of a campaign for a second term that he handily won in 2008, quickly double-demoted Burke to road sergeant. In addition to a loss of prestige, Burke was hit in the pocketbook. By one stroke of Bradshaw's pen, she went from earning a maximum $150,000 a year, including a 10 percent bonus, to a maximum of $95,000.

"This agency won't tolerate improper conduct from command staff officers," an unusually candid Bradshaw told the Post between flesh-pressing campaign appearances. "She was dealing with some issues, and she made bad choices."

The bad choice, Aronson says, was Bradshaw's. He singled out Burke for harsh punishment while remaining lenient with so many others, especially men. Burke believes the double demotion was ordered illegally because it showed "disparate treatment" that the lawsuit pins on gender. "Ann Burke was handed an industrial capital punishment," Aronson says. "It was unnecessary. Had she been a male, they would have given her a chance. Maybe put her on probation or something."

Burke's lawsuit, meanwhile, draws an interesting list of male PBSO officials who remained virtually discipline-free or were the targets of relatively light punishment in incidents that included "drunk driving... unapproved overtime and theft of services, unauthorized sexual relations between supervisors and subordinates, and (others) who were allowed to continue to work despite felony and misdemeanor convictions for crimes against women."

Burke was deposed July 28. But it's easy to figure out some of the star witnesses who may pop up if the lawsuit makes it to trial. Michael Kletzky's name will no doubt be brought up. Kletzky was a detective sergeant in 2005 when he and two of his men attended a law enforcement convention on youth gangs in St. Petersburg. According to news reports, Kletzky and the deputies met women during a night of drinking and took them on a high-speed, lights-and-siren ride through downtown in Kletzky's unmarked service car.

When the smoke cleared, and after the fuzz in Tampa Bay stopped Kletzky not just once but twice, then let him go, he was accused of pushing one of the women out of his moving car. She withdrew her complaint the following morning, saying she too was drunk. Pinellas County authorities complained to PBSO bosses about the shenanigans. In time, Kletzky received a five-day suspension.

Another macho PBSO character whose record is likely to be brought up is David Carhart, former captain of the agency's violent crimes bureau. Carhart's vodka-fueled descent into professional suicide in 2005 included incidents in which he broke into the empty apartment of a former lover, then called her from there while she was on a date with someone else. He also violated court orders mandating him to say away from yet another ex-girlfriend.

The criminal system punished Carhart in 2006 with a year in the county stockade. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated stalking. The punishment doled out by Bradshaw? Carhart was bumped down one rank to lieutenant before he walked out the door in a mass layoff with a lieutenant's severance package that included a $120,000 payoff. He also lost his law enforcement license.

Then there's former K-9 squad supervisor J.J. Morrissey, a lieutenant. In 2009, Morrissey was found to have approved the falsification of pay stubs so that a subordinate would receive overtime he didn't earn. Bradshaw handed Morrissey a 34-day suspension and no demotion.

In April 2006, according to PBSO records, Major Alfred Musco was working an off-duty detail for an Ozzy Osbourne concert at Cruzan Amphitheatre in suburban West Palm. He heard that a sergeant made fun of him publicly at the preconcert briefing he didn't attend. So Musco confronted Sgt. Mark Jolly in a style more suited to Full Metal Jacket, telling him as Ozzy fans filed by: "Sgt. Jolly, listen to me and listen to me good... If you have another laugh at my expense, your fucking career will come to a fucking screeching halt so fast that it'll make your head fucking spin."

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Lisa Simeone
Lisa Simeone

Obnoxious pigs. I hope these guys are married and their wives make their lives a living hell.


The reporting in the story is extraordinarily poor, lazy, and biased.  I love how the writer sets the tone by adding flare with language like "smack-dab," and "fancy-equipment-driven," and one of my favorites, "icing on the cake of humiliation."  Seriously, ever watch Brian Williams or Brokaw report the news, its done without spin and emotion.  Then your rag will have a little more credibility.  

It really is sad that you feel the need to add commentary and language the way you do.  You aren't writing a novel or a piece for the 'National Examiner' or are you; how about a novel idea, report the facts about what happened.  Did anyone in the story, including the deputies, ever use the phrase, "icing on the cake of humiliation?"  How about investigate the truthfulness of the claims and the entire story before you give it your own little spin and flavor and flare. 

All to often, these little local papers, get one or two people to comment and don't follow-up on the credibility of the witnesses or source.  Kevin Green? Mottl? Amoroso? Bonan?  What if someone at your "journalism" office claimed something about you that simply wasn't true?  Would you want the journalist to print the story without finding out if it really happened or how credible the source is or the witness(s) is/are or if the accuser was an incompetent person with a history of complaining/claiming harassment?  Please try it next time, you will gain a lot of respect and great deal of credibility from this reader and I'm guessing all your others as well.  As of right now, you have lost one more reader because of your language and your failure to investigate the story properly before printing it. 


How are the deputies victims or being treated like animals?  If you weren't there to witness or a trained hazmat tech. please don't answer that question because you don't know. This is clearly a case of "she said, he said," and who should we believe….let's see.  1. If there was an act of wrong doing or maliciousness, why didn't these accusers follow the proper procedure and document it/report it immediately and appropriately?  There is a policy and option for these issues or problems.  2. POLICY….when you don't know what a confiscated item is (b/c it can't go through security b/c it's dangerous) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT pick it up, look at it, smell it, taste it, or touch it and say "uh...what's this?"  If they did their job by the rules, this even doesn't occur. 3.  Hmmm….pepper spray discharges randomly...but randomly when they decide to touch it and pick it up,  ever heard of operator error?  How about, "don't touch it, it was confiscated because it's dangerous."  In fact, it says so right on the "unknown" item, you can read the warning label without touching it, that's if you are really that concerned about it.  Now, they want to accuse FF/other deputies of wrong doing…nonsense and blasphemy!   These are the men AND WOMEN that risk their lives during real HAZMAT incidents, ever heard of the Bahrona's.  These are good people, cops and firefighters protect us and should be treated with respect and admiration, wouldn't  the deputies making accusations say the same thing about public servants or is this an attempt to get a free ride?   It sounds like the only ones at fault are the deputies that failed to follow procedure on more than one occasion.  What do their personnel reviews and files look like?  How can anyone believe this story, if they can't' get the basics of their profession correct.THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO DEFLECT THEIR FAILURES, RULE BREAKING, AND NEGLIGENCE ONTO OTHERS, MAKING IT EVEN WORSE, ITS ONTO SWORN PUBLIC SERVANTS. THIS IS CLEARLY NOT BELIEVABLE AND SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN ANY CREDENCE!



Draconian Prime
Draconian Prime

So the Deputies are saying they were stripped down, hosed down, and humiliated... Isn't that what they do to Citizens they arrest? Maybe next time they are processing detainees they'll learn a little something from this incident.


Yeah, sure. I guess the fact that they risk their lives every day in order to protect everyone, including you, means they get to be treated like animals.