As New Times reported last week, Palm Beach Sheriff's deputy Jason Taylor is currently being sued by a Loxahatchee couple whose three dogs he shot and killed.
As it turns out, Bryan and Kathryn Thomas aren't the first to raise concerns about Taylor's behavior. PBSO has an 85-page file documenting a range of incidents in which he was alleged to have been rude, not handled calls properly, and used excessive force. (Taylor declined to comment for this story.)
Interestingly, one complaint involves Ricky Woodman, who is a witness in the dog-shooting trial. Taylor had been coming to arrest him on the day that he shot Bryan and Kathryn Thomas' three dogs. The complaint, filed by another deputy at the PBSO, alleges that Taylor pulled over Woodman without alerting dispatch and didn't wear his body microphone during the traffic stop. He was cited for neglect of duty and transferred to another PBSO district "to lessen the probability of him having further interactions with Mr. Woodman."
It's worth noting that in every other case, the PBSO either decided the complaints were unsubstantiated or that Taylor had not violated department policies. Viewed together, though, they suggest a disturbing trend.
Among the highlights:
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- In 2006, Michael McAdam of Wellington complained that he had called the PBSO to report an auto theft. When Taylor showed up, however, he allegedly refused to report the incident and arrested McAdam’s girlfriend, who had an outstanding warrant, instead.
- In 2007, Taylor and another deputy were dispatched to take Norman Randall of Belle Glade, who is described in the report as being “lethargic and despondent” because he had not taken his prescribed medication, to the crisis unit. Randall later told the PBSO that the deputies had placed handcuffs on him and thrown him to the ground. Then, one deputy (it’s not clear who) placed his knee on Randall's neck while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground.
- In 2010, Carol Giaria of Loxahatchee complained Taylor had an “aggressive attitude” when she called to report a complaint about a neighbor.
- In 2011, an anonymous man called to report that Taylor (who was identified by his plate number) had been driving recklessly on the Bee Line Highway and had nearly crashed into his van.
- In 2011, Tina Alsina of Loxahatchee and Lantana called the PBSO for help with an eviction. She claims that Taylor was rude to her and told her tenant that he could stay in the house for up to ten years if he wanted to, which was untrue.
- In 2012, Jeana Paris of Loxahatchee said that Taylor “acted like he didn’t care” about the burglary she had reported.
- In 2012, Stainton Mckenzie of Loxahatchee filed a racial profiling complaint, saying he’d been pulled over and cited for speeding but had been under the speed limit.
- In 2014, Sherri Zurek called PBSO to request officers check on her daughter. She said her son, who was home when Taylor arrived, informed her that Taylor “was inappropriate, rude, and put her daughter’s life in danger.”
- In 2015, Laura Czapor of Delray Beach said -Taylor had failed to properly document an incident of domestic violence that she had reported.
Therese Barbera, a spokesperson for the PBSO, confirmed that Taylor is still an active member of the force. He has been working there since 2001.
West Palm Beach-based lawyer Kevin Anderson, who is representing the Thomas family, thinks it’s unlikely that any of these incidents will end up being relevant to the case. “Depending on the longevity of the officer and the nature of their duty, they may or may not get a number of complaints,” he says. “It’s not unusual to be complained about. What is unusual to have a sustained complaint multiple times.”
Meanwhile, it looks like Taylor isn't the only one going around shooting dogs. As WSVN-TV (Channel 7) first reported, BSO deputies recently shot and killed two pitbulls in two days.