Currently, there are multiple Fort Myers Police Officers on paid administrative leave due to an ongoing investigation into the department connecting multiple officers to a local gang called Lake Boyz. More than 50 officers were involved from Fort Myers, U.S. Marshals, Lee County deputies and the FBI when they used the RICO act to arrest 21 of the 23 alleged members. One of the remaining alleged members is deceased and another is at large. The departments spoke person said that the number of officers connected to the gang is greater than five.
Recently, Fort Myers Police Department had to get a new police chief due to corruption. Chief Derrick Diggs said to NBC2, “I came in knowing that there were going to be challenges.”
Currently we know the names of five of the officers involved: Captain Duke Perry, Sergeant Rick Nataro, Sergeant Eric Gutridge, Officer Jason Jackson and Sergeant Michael Forbes.
Before Chief Diggs was sworn in, the FREEH Group International Solutions, an auditing team, reported evidence of preferential treatment and integrity issues when interviewing officers.
“They wanted us to zero in on the things that were not working right, or the perception was they were not working right,” said Robert O’Neil with FREEH. “There was a cliquish system within the department. You either were in or you were out.”
“The way it was dealt with historically was to no deal with it,” O’Neil added.
The corruption took off at a fast pace in 2008 after the country’s economic collapse, when several skilled officers were let go because of budget constraints.
When asked for a comment regarding the officers on leave Diggs said, “I’m prohibited statutorily from making any comment on that.”
Attorney Gerry Olivo, who is representing one of the alleged gang members said that anytime an officer is on leave and involved in a case, it raises red flags.