Sanford sergeant cleared of charge, returns to work
by Gary Roberts, Herald Staff
October 27 2010 at 1323 | 2281 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sanford Police Sgt. Anthony Raimondo, accused of lying from the witness stand in a felony case, has been cleared of the accusation.

Following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, prosecutors Thursday declined to pursue a criminal indictment.

“I have concluded that there is no basis for any criminal charges to be filed against Sgt. Raimondo for perjury, misconduct or any other crime,” State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger said in a letter notifying the Sanford Police Department and FDLE of his decision.

Raimondo, an 11-year SPD veteran, is still the focus of a departmental internal investigation into possible policy violations in the case. However, Raimondo was returned this weekend to full duty from paid leave after the primary allegation was waived.

“Sgt. Raimondo is a good officer and a good supervisor of our Emergency Services Unit and SWAT team,” Sanford Police Chief Brian Tooley said.

“We asked the FDLE for an independent review of the matter and they found no criminal wrongdoing. We are pleased that this has been resolved.”

Raimondo testified in court that on Oct. 19, 2009, a vehicle in the Castle Brewer Court public-housing complex was parked the wrong way on a one-way street. During a search of the vehicle, police found cocaine and marijuana, along with a pistol, reports said.

A records check also revealed that Domonic Gartmond, a resident of Apopka, had an outstanding Seminole County warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Gartmond, 22, was subsequently arrested for having drugs and a firearm in the vehicle.

During a suppression hearing, however, the defense argued that the officer did not have proper cause to intervene because no one-way signs were posted.

Circuit Court Judge Marlene Alva agreed, tossing out all evidence in the case. The prosecution dropped the felony charges on June 4, 2010.

In her report, Alva wrote that Raimondo was guilty of a “flagrant act of misconduct” because there were no one-way signs posted at the time. However, the FDLE investigation found that Raimondo did not tell the suspect that signs were currently posted.

“…At no time did Sgt. Raimondo testify that on the night of the arrest there were signs marking the road in question as a one-way street,” Wolfinger said.

Instead, Raimondo relied on the fact that the roads within the complex are only wide enough for one lane of traffic and the angle parking in front of the apartments clearly indicates the right direction to go, he explained.

Police Chief Tooley, while relieved of putting the issue behind him, said the judge’s report was troubling from the start.

“In my 38 years of law enforcement, I have never seen an order worded that strongly,” Tooley said. “It didn’t strike us right when we saw the court report.”

Tooley explained that, unfortunately, the judge’s report would remain a permanent part of Raimondo’s record.