A police union that is adamant about a former officer, who had spent years on paid administrative leave, has been terminated without cause by the Fort Myers Police Department.
Two weeks after Jason Jackson was fired, Councilman Johnny Streets of the City of Fort Myers is also speaking out in his defense.
An internal investigation by the Fort Myers Police Department revealed that Jackson was involved in convicted crimes and had an affair with a confidential informant.
Streets said he still has questions about Jackson’s handling of the case.
The police union representing Jackson has filed a complaint and believes he can still return to the force.
Streets said he has known the Jackson family for many years and has been in contact with them since he terminated his contract.
“We don’t like what Jason did, but we still have to support Jason,” Streets said.
The internal investigation sparked claims that Jackson had sex while on the clock, sold police information to known criminals, and illegally seized and trafficked in narcotics.
The investigation also included interviews with 27 community members regarding Jackson’s alleged actions.
Fort Myers Sheriff Derrick Diggs fired Jackson in November. It came months after the FBI decided not to pursue criminal charges against Jackson but did not say why.
Matt Sellers, president of the Gulf Coast Police Benevolent Association, does not see termination imminent.
“I was quite shocked,” Sellers said. “From the PBA’s point of view, his termination was not based on or supported by a cause. We clearly feel that he should be rehabilitated.”
The seller pointed to language in the internal investigation such as “speculation” and “rumor” as lacking solid evidence.
The PBA has requested that Jackson “be reinstated as a police officer and be reimbursed for all the wages, seniority and benefits he lost” during the process.
“An officer is accused of something that is not supported by justice,” Sellers said. “Basically, justice is proof. There is no evidence to support Jason Jackson’s termination.”
While acknowledging the gravity of the claims against Jackson, Streets looks to the leadership structure within the Fort Myers Police Department.
“Who is supervising him? Who was following him? How are you allowed to do all this,” said Streets.
In a statement from the police department when the termination occurred, Diggs said, “This behavior is from a previous chapter, and we have closed the book on that era of FMPD.”
The union said the case could eventually be heard in court, where witnesses would be forced to take a stand rather than speak to police behind closed doors.
“Obviously that’s part of the case that will be made. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test this on mass media. He’s going to have his day,” said Sellers. “I hope the Chief will sort this out before it goes this far.”
The union filed an objection to the decision to fire Jackson, but that is different from an appeal asking Jackson to return to the job.
The union expects the appeals process to take three to six months.
WINK News has reached out to FMPD and Diggs for interviews as well as Jackson and his family but has not received a response.
https://www.winknews.com/2021/12/15/police-union-fort-myers-city-councilman-question-termination-of-jason-jackson/ Police union, Fort Myers City Councilman end Jason Jackson suspicions