Orange Co. corrections officers fired after fight on bus
Investigators: 1 officer grabbed gun after being punched
Two Orange County corrections officers have been fired following a violent confrontation on a charter bus, in which one of the officers punched the other, according to an internal affairs report.
Investigators say the officer who was punched threatened to stab his attacker, and later pulled out a gun when the altercation continued outside the Orange County jail.
In April, the Fraternal Order of Police chartered at least two buses to transport union members and their families to the "Guns & Hoses" fundraiser in Jacksonville, a charity boxing tournament that pits firefighters against police officers.
On the drive home from the fundraiser, witnesses said Orange County Corrections Lieutenant Michael Dean reached across the aisle of the bus and punched Sergeant Donald Casey.
Investigators said Casey was making derogatory comments about Dean's girlfriend, who is also a corrections officer.
After the punch was thrown, witnesses said Sgt. Casey threatened to stab his superior in the neck.
The bus driver pulled over on I-95 and ordered Lt. Dean to get off and board a different bus for the remaining trip back to the Orange County jail.
As he was leaving, Sgt. Casey said, "I hope Dean doesn't start any (expletive) when we get to the compound because I have an arsenal in my car," according to witnesses.
When the buses returned to the jail parking lot, witnesses said Casey walked to his car, pulled out his personal handgun, and tucked it in his waistband. Dean claims Casey pointed the gun at him, but investigators were unable to corroborate that account.
About a month after the bus altercation, after an internal investigation had been launched, Casey reported receiving threatening phone calls from someone disguising their voice. Investigators later determined the calls were being placed from Dean's phone. Dean denied making the calls.
Following a six-month investigation, the Orange County Corrections Department terminated Dean and Casey.
The bus driver has recommended that Mears Transportation Company never rent to the Fraternal Order of Police again, saying, "they completely trashed the bus."
Union representatives have not returned calls and emails seeking comment.