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Riviera Cop Michael Dodson Pleads Guilty to Firing a Gun While Drunk, Gets Probation

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Of the three Riviera Beach police officers charged in a corruption scandal two years ago, Sgt. Michael Dodson's case was the most bizarre. 


Early one morning in October 2009, following a retirement party for a fellow cop, Dodson returned home to Palm Beach Gardens, drunk. Soon afterward, a distress call came in over Riviera's police radio: "Ten-twenty-four, officer needs help." 

Fellow cops arrived to find Dodson lying face-down on the garage floor, covered in blood. 

More than 100 tiny cuts criss-cossed his entire body -- calves, chest, arms, head. The sergeant's Glock lay near him on the floor, along with a trail of blood, a box cutter, an Xacto razor blade, and a hammer.


Dodson relayed a story about men in ski masks attempting to attack him. He said he pulled out his Glock and fired 15 or 16 rounds at the suspects until they ran away. But the story didn't add up, and the Palm Beach Gardens police eventually concluded that Dodson had wounded himself.

Today, Dodson pleaded guilty to disorderly intoxication and using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced to one year of probation, with requirements that he undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations, according to the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office.   

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of shooting inside a building and a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime.

Dodson's case is the second of the three Riviera police cases to be resolved. Earlier this year, Vice Agent John Toombs was acquitted of charges that he tipped off a murder suspect about an impending arrest. Detective Lee Ann Schneider is still awaiting trial on multiple charges of forgery and official misconduct for allegedly helping her boss pad his overtime.

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