Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair indicted by grand jury

sheriff blair, marion county news, ocala news, indicted, corruption
Sheriff Chris Blair

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – On Friday, May 20, 2016, the State Attorney’s Office for the Fifth Judicial District indicted Sheriff Chris Blair for two counts of Perjury in an official proceeding and one count of Official Misconduct.

At 2:51 p.m. Friday, Blair was booked into the Marion County Jail. He was released on bond at 3:31 p.m.

According to court documents, Florida Governor Rick Scott has appointed the Attorney General’s Office Director of Division of Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs Emery Gainey as the Interim Sheriff of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

According to officials, Blair was indicted because he knowingly made false statements under oath during the Dustin Heathman investigation.

During questioning, Blair stated that he did not see the severe injuries Heathman’s face, who had been beaten by members of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Further investigation revealed that Heathman, who was in his underwear, had been escorted to a patrol car by deputies directly in front of Blair.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Blair could face up to five years in prison on each count and $5,000 in fines on each count, if convicted.

This is a developing story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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  • Karen M

    guess he thought everyone in uniform ‘had his back’ because he had ‘theirs’ ~~~~ evidently not.

    • Darryl Williams

      He knew this was coming. So he had his bond all lined up. So its just paperwork … i bet he didnt make in more than the first booking room.

  • c21h30o2i

    Good!! He’s a liar with a badge, like them all. Only an hour in jail, surely not the tank or general population for the old fuck. Whys he get special treatment? bet he didn’t use the phone on the wall, with the other bank of phones: to call a bondsman. Political BS he wont spend a minute in jail because of this he didn’t spend an hour in lock up. home safe with all his perversions to play with. No ladies and gentleman of this county and country WE THE PEOPLE are not equal’s to law enforcement. You or I, do this crime, we would of been beat to inches of our lives pepper sprayed and tazed. than stripped naked and told, we’ll get to you when we want. I know old Blair didn’t get that nice treatment. why? cause he has a badge, that is why!

    • Karen M

      Well , I agree with one thing from your personal ‘tirade’ he probably did NOT spend a minute in the ‘pods’ but I also have to assume you are a former ‘resident’ of the GreyBar Inn! He on the one hand may (MAY’) be guilty of breaking ‘a white-collar’ law, and others in his category have and will receive ‘special’ treatment , but on the ‘other’ hand obviously he (they) are not a ‘danger’ to society, can you say the same about every local thug who has passed through the booking Dept.?

      • c21h30o2i

        Yeah I’m 44 father of two I have seen inside Marion County jail. most has in this county. mine was for exp tag and insurance. far from a danger to society He is the worst kind of criminal the kind tasked to uphold the law. It’s funny how the certain type in this county hide in their house afraid to go out because of the spin the AP puts on stories, to instill fear. Blair, was tasked, to uphold the law he didn’t. and I am sure, he got away with a lot more than we know about. He should be held to a higher standard and everything his hands had touched in the past should be gone over with a fine tooth comb. I am sure there are innocent, behind bars because of his mighty pen..

        Also he is supposed to set an example to his deputies and the people he represents, he hasn’t. he is no different than an expired tag driver, who has possibly, the risk of loosing everything; job, house, car, life, from spending days on days in the county jail trying to bond out. So, when I hear of the corrupt actions of LEO’s I want them to pay the highest penalty.And Blair, is a much more danger to us all than most of the painkiller addicts on the street. There are a lot of drugs in this town, hell, a lot of the officers and deputies have a hand in that game, just read the news. Blair, in his department, has enabled those officers to offend; because of his lack of leadership and insubordination. mostly towards low income groups oh btw i am white, so cant play the race card with me. I’m sure it’s sitting on your tongue but possibly too afraid to sputter it.

        So, I can say yes! with a good heart, I am NOT a danger to society BLAIR is and his keystone cops. He gets right on the tube and lies to our face, while he and his deputies carry themselves, like they are better than the rest of us because of a badge they abuse. They are no better, just a job they choose to do and do it miserably IMHO. Have you seen their budget? armored cars jacked up military gear? for Marion county? it’s a joke. he and his department are a joke and the citizens who vote, and believe in the lies he spews, for the bit of false safety they think they have because we have a get tough on crime leader, who he himself is a criminal are a joke. I’ll end with a tidbit from a founding father, whom you may not know, I’ll go ahead anyway. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

        • Tiger

          I know what they are. Nothing will be done.

      • harry

        you have to remember that everything but traffic tickets are an arrest able offense in marion county. shoplift a roll of toilet paper and you are arrested and taken to the jail and booked in. and given a bail. and if you can’t afford a roll, how you going to come up with bail.

        • c21h30o2i

          That is true! almost anyone on any given time could, not intentionally could, be committing a crime just going about your day. Karen M, says “breaking a white collar crime” Ok Yes true. But oh so, much more. HE broke trust, leadership, oaths taken and just a moral way an sheriff should carry himself. Sure, I have a family who, I, yes, take sides over strangers, if you will. So, Blair, of course takes the side of his team. When an sheriff makes a mistake or is called upon for a crime he may have committed Blair, as the leader, is in the corner of his deputy. I understand and agree with, pending the outcome of any investigation. But, when the leader tells” white lies” or breaks certain codes, the deputies, low men on the totem pole, tend to lean that way also. Be the change you want to see in the world and shiiii. Blair, broke a white collar crime. Blair, also broke the trust of his “constituents” and anyone who supported him. Sorry for the side track, but yes our county jail is a revolving door for petty, petty crimes and when they do catch a big fish. They beat them and lie about it or do certain criminal tasks while in the process of investigating a criminal or criminal enterprise. I love this county and almost everyone and thing in it. But I wont sit down when crime, mostly petty, is vigorously, costly and down right idiotically at times pursued. and The one leading the charge of all the mostly frivolously law attacks is a criminal himself. Snake in the woodpile?

        • Karen M

          It’s still called ‘THEFT’ no matter the circumstance, so you are saying L.E.O’s. should ‘over-look’ such a ‘small’ infraction of the law? How do they explain that to the ‘shop keeper’ who paid for that toilet tissue? it’s a small thing so we can’t require the thief to pay for it by serving ‘time’ (even if it’s just 24 hours!) ??? put yourself in the place of the business owner! Hopefully society will see your plight (through programs like The Salvation Army , Brothers’ Keeper, etc etc who would gladly fill your needs! and this doesn’t excuse the Sheriff’s breaking the law, no matter how minor,but it certainly doesn’t ‘rise’ to the charge of ‘assault’ , disregard for others well being, or more! So when the Congress originally wrote our laws , and each state decided if they agreed (or not!) it came down to our own States laws as to how they would ‘punish’ the offender !

          • harry

            where did I ever say ‘overlook’ theft? nowhere. there are things in other in every other parts of the educated country called ‘citations’. they are things leo’s give to people for minor offenses like shoplifting, open containers, ect, instead of wasting their valuable time writing arrest reports the hour or so spent getting a person booked into the grey bar hotel. plus you have know clue about the sal army there in marion county, they run the probation and their only goal is to find away to violate some and put them back in jail for revenue generation. in every other probation dept they try to help probationers become productive citizen, and how do I know, because I dated a ‘state’ parole officer and she wouldn’t work for them for that reason. I want intelligence used not this stupid version going on there

      • He lied under oath about not seeing someone beat? That’s way worse than many of the so called ‘thugs’ who’ve come and gone through booking. He is no better; he is worse because he took an oath to uphold the law and PROTECT. He’s abused the citizen trust and power given him to do the job and should be held to a higher standard as a sheriff and not behave like a ‘thug’ but he did and he deserves to be treated just like every other thug with or without a badge.

        • Tiger

          So what his deputies do it daily and if they don’t have enough on you they get their snitches to lie. So what nothing that is what nothing.

          Right back to business as usual.

    • harry

      ergle didn’t spend a minute and remember he stole over $100,000

      • Karen M

        you can’t convince me that Ken Ergle was a ‘criminal’ in ANY sense of the word! the money he used was from a fund called “Sheriff’s Discretionary Fund’ and the truth is that none of the money was taxpayer money! It was confiscated DRUG MONEY! and YES, some of it was for personal use, but the ‘Lion’s share’ also purchased equipment to help the officers do their job and that is to protect the residents (taxpayers!) when he could not get a budget approved that he requested, (he knew this ‘used’ but viable equipment could help get the job done, would not last long, and figured he could put the funds back when his ‘Budget’ was eventually approved! at any rate, this is apples and oranges though, because to my knowledge Mr. Ergle never lied under oath.

        • harry

          YES, some of it was for personal use, you want shoplifters to go to jail, but it would have been ok for him to steal. he had a $40,000 private boat in his driveway, you have no problem with stealing for that? you are contradictory. I hold leo’s to high standards you seem to hold them at NONE, plead GULITY to a crime in court, so he admitted in court he is a criminal

    • Karen M

      of course he deserves different (better) treatment ! unlike the people who spent their lives breaking the Law of the Land, he spent most of his as a law abiding citizen and even took an oath to ‘serve and protect’ the people of Marion County! I’m sure you’ve heard of people being allowed to avoid jail time due to their ‘GOOD STANDING IN THE COMMUNITY; !!!! and I think he qualified! Now the Sour grapes are starting to fall, and resentment of Law Enforcement for ‘special treatment’ ! NOPE , can’t believe that he should have been treated like the ‘sloppy, mean , violent drunk who took out his problems on his poor wife and kids…..Do you really, I mean really? tell the truth!

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  • Ms Betty

    Yea!!! It’s about time they got him out!!!

    • Tiger

      Nothing came of it. The sheriffs deputies will still beat hell out of you, lie under oath, use snitches to put you down, the judges will continue to do excessive sentencing and they will continue to own the schools and property that the prisoners have to work and the state attroneys will still be filthy lying scum who make deals to put you down so what? Nothing that is what.

  • For the past two years, Stand With Dustin Heathman has been saying that Marion County’s version of events was simply not true. It has been revealed that multiple officers have lied under oath, falsified reports, omitted facts, engaged in cover-ups, and violated Dustin Heathman of his civil rights. Not to mention, the original charge for which they showed up, which was a first-time misdemeanor traffic violation with no victims, was thrown out, showing that Dustin was right when he said that he had done nothing wrong. Last October, the Ocala StarBanner published an article in which it was revealed that Sheriff Chris Blair was lying to the media when he said that he knew nothing about Dustin’s beating. In fact, we have copies of the paperwork proving that he did indeed know all about it, and did nothing. If it wasn’t for the beating of Derrick Price, former officer Cody Hoppel and the other officers with him at the time never would have gotten in trouble for beating Dustin up while he was handcuffed, fully compliant, and posing no threat to anyone.

    Once it became known that multiple officers, including the sheriff himself, lied and tried to cover things up, Dustin’s case should have been thrown out. Dustin did NOT get a fair trial at all. The jury could not know if the facts presented to them were true, or completely false. If the integrity of the investigation is called into question, then the integrity of the prosecution must also be called into question. All of the officers swore to the same version of events, a version of events which has since been proven to be false. As a result, no one knows which of the other officers are lying and which are telling the truth. Based on the words of these officers, Dustin was given a life sentence, plus 75 years. Furthermore, Dustin was recently transferred to a disciplinary dorm at a disciplinary camp (Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka), despite having no disciplinary issues. Both of the judges in his case had said that he should be sent to a South Florida prison, yet he was sent to the panhandle. We know that Gulf CI is one of the worst prisons in Florida, and we believe that Sheriff Blair may have used some of his influence to make sure that Dustin was sent to a place not only far away from his family in the West Palm Beach area, but also to ensure that Dustin was sent to a place where he’s likely to get hurt. We are very concerned for his safety in there.

    Major Tommy Bibb was also suspended, and while no reason has yet been given for the suspension, I would like to mention that this is not the first time which Bibb has been suspended. Bibb was in charge if the investigation of Dustin’s case, and had insisted that Dustin was not beaten. So far all of the so-called ‘victims’ have been under investigation, suspended, charged, arrested, and/or indicted for dishonesty in Dustin’s case, from the sheriff himself on down to the deputies. All of the witnesses are unreliable, because who knows if Blair told them to lie during their testimony?

    The state reconstructed the charges to exclude testimony which would show reasonable doubt. This would be a Brady v. Maryland violation, in that the state knowingly withheld evidence or testimony favorable to the accused. From the sheriff to the deputies, this whole thing has been dishonest from day one. If nothing else, the investigation was not based on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And if it was not based on the whole truth, then it was based on some lies.

    After all of the lies and cover-ups that have been revealed in this case, and after their story has changed numerous times, Dustin needs to get a new trial. Someone else needs to look at his case. Can we really send a man away for the rest of his life on a ‘maybe’? At the very least, he needs to be brought back to the county jail and get a new trial. The evidence needs to be looked through to decide what’s admissible.

    Dustin is working on an appeal. His story is not over. He truly is innocent, he never tried to hurt or kill anyone that day, and he didn’t put a scratch on anybody. The sheriff and his deputies are the ones who lied, who tried to cover up the crimes that they committed, who came with paramilitary force for a misdemeanor charge which was thrown out, who have been lying to the media from the very beginning.

    • Karen M

      sounds like you are related to Heathman ! if so, and you really believe ‘any’ of the above, you should send a copy of the above email to Gov. Scott!

  • nohilderbeast2016

    He did much less than hillery and her rapist husband bill, and she’s still out walking around. When will she be cuffed and stuffed???

  • Karen M

    I agree he should be held to a higher standard due to his ‘oath’ , but I also think he was due ‘respect’ for The Badge’ after all , he’s still innocent until proven guilty! He’s entitled to ‘his day in court’

  • Jamestheless

    So let me get this straight…A guy that shot and police (which could have caused fatalities) is being sympathized. Right…

  • Fred Fitzula

    I am completely shocked over this news paper article the lack of bipartisan reporting on both articles on the Marion County Sheriff’s Department , and the lack of the law enforcement community that works with the Tom Bibb, Don Maines and Chris Blair. This is a Question to the Law Enforcement Community Where is where Brother Hood. If your department is not corrupt stand up for it hold your head up high and your chest out and stand up for your department. I had the Honor and Pleasure to work for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department back in the early 90’s, and to work with at the time Investigator Tom Bibb who was a hard worker a excellent Investigator, and gave 110 percent to the tax payers of Marion County. I learned a lot from Tom that I used in my career in Law Enforcement. I know Chris Blair but never had the pleaser of working with him but both men had the umpteen respect for all people around them and to whom they came into contact with, they had Honor and Integrity every thing that you would want in a person in Law Enforcement. When are we the people going to stand up for Law Enforcement and stop allowing the media and the … put down Law Enforcement. We need to stand as a brother hood and as Citizens. There is only about one ( 1) percent out there that is Bad and they usually don’t make it past training or their 1 year but they don’t make it up in ranks most of the times !!!!

  • Penelope Fisher

    Treating people like animals (beating them up without reason) is not justified. No matter what these people have done, a law enforcement person that uses violence without reason is lowering himself and can not be trusted to do the right thing. It also show lack of self control. Lying to cover up and encouraging the behavior is totally unacceptable and dishonest. Anyone that sees this behavior as OK and should be treated with impunity is asking for more of the same. The only problem is that it may be your relative or loved one that is next. You don’t have to commit a crime to be arrested.

  • Rob

    I don’t know what went down in this case but the new Interim Sheriff Gainey, whom had worked for Gainesville / Alachua County Sheriff’s Office w/25 years of experience has noted Operational disparities and discrepancies of the Marion county Sheriff’s office … As with the new sheriff’s candidates citizens are concerned and scared in this county of the deputies ..
    but this isn’t all a local problem either.. allot has to do with Washington DC’s DHS “dept of homeland security ” “AKISA” Dept of the Gestapo in Disguise , over the last ten or so years has spread paranoia threw out the USA .. now almost anyone can be considered a Terrorist just for showing up at a protest or contesting what Wash DC and what ever its rent-boy media tells you, and our very own state Legislator both past / present and Governors have gone along with the Parade from DC with very little if any Objections … Staring with the patriot act requiring a REAL ID act that fla capitulated with ,. If you don’t have all the documents they can or could still issue you a non REAL ID or DL with out that Star next to the photo.. but they dictated that they couldn’t after jan 2010 ,.
    now lets look back at Our local PD and Sheriff Departments .. DHS along with other Wash Dc agencies have slowly and surly have militarized our Local LEO”s .. you see them Dressed up like Storm Troopers.. lets do a twenty Five year look back and you can tell by finding old Photo’s of cops threw out FL and the US.. didn’t have commando outfits as standard equipment back then,. Yes we’ve had some bad things go down.. Orlando mass shootings.. but Wash Dc along with DSH have added fuel to flames along with the news media for sensationalizing it and spreading out more Paranoia as this Charade and Pariade continues..
    Bush wasn’t Good and Obama made things worse in quite a few ways along with this Hillary C presidential candidate fueled the flames and both Syria and Libya .. in Libya they helped thugs over throw Gadhafi and Woow five years later and Libya still with unrest on the streets and a terrorist Hot bed on top of it,.
    And I agree with on of the Marion Sheriff Candidates that we need to get back to into Community Policing and dispose of the Gestapo tactics .. and No having Ed Dean come back into the pitcher isn’t the Answer either.. but I do Admit former Ret, Sheriff Dean would serve either wining party on board as a Consultant and Advisor to whom ever the next Sheriff of Marion co would be .. Sorry but Once Retired you stay Retired and enjoy your remaining years ahead,. that means No working Full time or even part time day in and day out.. that’s where a Retiree can fill this gap.. as a paid or unpaid Consultant / Advisor to both the New Sheriff and the county commission as well,.

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  • Tiger

    Yeh well he is crying foul now after he was caught in his own corrupt system. Marion county filthy from the state attorneys, to the judges who own all the schools people go to when convicted to the police who beat to death people and nobody cares.

    So now what? Nothing. The new sheriff came in and should have made up a Special Division to handle people who have proof positive via CD of their hearing etc that show beyond a shadow of a doubt his deputies lie under oath, his judges are filthy and his entire system corrupt. But no what does he do he puts the people in touch with a deputy who immediately intimidates the people that call.

    Look we have video of police beating people, we have proof of the corruption and know what doesn’t matter Marion county will continue like it always has until somebody of note dies in the County jail or the big house here. Nobody cares people nobody cares.

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