(Democrat Barbara Cady is running for Florida House Distirct 42. Fred Hawkins is one of the Republicans vying for the seat and is opposed in the August 18 Florida Primary.)
By: Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 7:12 PM
OSCEOLA COUNTY — County Commissioner and Florida House candidate Fred Hawkins has posted bond at Osceola County Jail after being charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Channel 9 first reported in November when a now-former community security guard was arrested for allegedly shoving Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins. Charges against Ailyn DePena were later dropped.
On Nov. 7, 2019, Hawkins allegedly attempted to gain access to an election of the Turnberry Reserve Homeowner’s Association, of which he was not a member, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. When a security guard prevented him from entering the room, he flashed sheriff’s office credentials, saying he was with the sheriff’s office and threatened her with arrest.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reviewed DePena’s body camera video from that night.
Read: Former Seminole County Tax Collector accused of creating fake IDs, documents say
Hawkins is a special deputy with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, which is an honorary title, according to the FDLE. He does not have arrest powers, nor has he ever been a certified law-enforcement officer in Florida.
He was not requested by the sheriff’s office to take any action as a special deputy officer.
Community members have raised questions about whether Hawkins was within his rights to display a badge given to him as an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office special deputy during the incident.
Hawkins is serving his third term on the Osceola County Board of Commissioners. He served as chairman in 2010, 2014 and 2017.