Clay County, Florida, Sheriff Darryl Daniels was arrested on Thursday and is facing multiple charges following an investigation into a scandal where he ordered his deputies to arrest his mistress, the Florida Times-Union reports.
According to the news site, Daniels is facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence, as well as three misdemeanor counts of giving false information to law enforcement.
The charges stem from a May 2019 incident in which Daniels told his staff to arrest a woman for stalking him. That woman turned out to be Cierra Smith, a former employee with whom he began a relationship back in 2013 while they were both working at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, according to the Washington Post. Smith ultimately resigned while under investigation for misconduct, according to the Times-Union.
Daniels, who is up for reelection, has refused to resign despite being suspended. He is railing against his arrest, calling it “dirty politics.”
“I want you to look past the smoke screen of dirty politics,” Daniels said according to the Times-Union. “One thing I take ownership of as a man is my failures as a husband. That has nothing to do with me as a sheriff.”
“I find the timing of the obtaining of a warrant and pressing of charges suspicious in light of an election that’s pending five days from now,” Daniels’s attorney Matt Kachergus added. “It would appear that the timing of this is designed to influence the outcome of that election.”
Daniels, who is the county’s first Black sheriff, also made news last month after threatening to deputize gun-owning residents in his jurisdiction to help quell “lawlessness” from protests.