FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office suspended one of their deputies after officials said he made over fifty threatening phone calls.
Deputy Dedorious Varnes was suspended without pay pending further investigation.
Varnes is being investigated for allegedly making over fifty threatening phone calls to a 67-year-old Palm Coast man who was the victim of a battery.
According to officials, the Palm coast man began receiving calls from a restricted number while deputies were investigating a battery near his home.
The man called authorities after he had been allegedly battered by Patell Troutman, 42, officials said.
The victim told deputies that Troutman, along with other neighbors were watching TV inside his garage when the topic of racism was introduced and an argument between the three men began.
“In the calls, the caller began asking the victim not to press charges against Troutman and to think about what damage could be done emotionally to Troutman’s child if he went to jail,” officials said. “The victim told deputies that he had never given Troutman his phone number and did not know how he had it.”
Authorities forwarded charges against Troutman to the State Attorney’s Office for the battery.
For the next three months, the Palm Coast man received 53 threatening phone calls from a blocked number.
“The victim reported that he would receive these calls at all hours and that the caller would frequently use racial slurs and make threats against his life,” deputies said. “The victim told FCSO that he believed Troutman was the one making the phone calls and that he was in fear for his life.”
The State Attorney’s Office worked alongside deputies to conduct an investigation into the battery as well as the threatening phone calls.
According to a report, the blocked phone number was eventually linked to Dedorious Varnes, a deputy with the FCSO since Jan. 2018.
“I was shocked, disappointed and angry to find out that an employee of this agency was behind these atrocious phone calls,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “He took an oath and is supposed to serve and protect this community and instead he actively participated in threatening and tormenting a resident. He abused his status as a law enforcement officer and we will do everything we can to have the state revoke his license so he can never work in law enforcement again. He has let down this community; he has embarrassed this agency and tarnished his badge and dishonored law enforcement officers everywhere. No one is above the law and that is why he is in jail where he belongs.”
During the investigation, numerous deputies responded to the victim’s home to take reports on the harassing phone calls and on one occasion the responding deputy was Varnes, a news release said.
“The fact that he could looked this victim in the eye and listened to just how upset these phone calls where making him and then continued to call him, again and again, is an indicator that he has a serious problem,” Staly added. “In reviewing his personnel file and talking to his supervisors and those on his interview board and reviewing his psychological background there were no indicators that he would do anything like this. In my 45-years in law enforcement, this is the most bizarre behavior I have ever seen by a law enforcement officer. I want to assure the community that his behavior is not a reflection of the many men and women that serve our community in a professional manner every day.”
After the arrest, Staly spoke to the victim and apologized on behalf of the agency. The Sheriff assured the man that the deputy’s behavior was not representative of all FCSO employees.
Varnes was arrested and charged with Aggravated Stalking and is currently being held on no bond, investigators said.