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Florida Detectives Allegedly Broke Into City Hall

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Two detectives with the Bradenton Police Department are under investigation after they allegedly broke into Bradenton City Hall after hours on Feb. 7, leaving the building unlocked for the weekend, according to an internal affairs report.

The report, prepared by Lt. Josh Cramer of the Office of Professional Standards, states that a door lock that leads to City Hall "was allegedly manipulated and defeated at the hands of" Ross Johnson and another detective, whose name was redacted from the 20-page document.

Johnson is no longer employed with the Bradenton Police Department, officials confirmed Monday.

The investigation started after City Clerk and Treasurer Carl Callahan complained to Police Chief Michael Radzilowski, according to the report. Callahan reportedly provided a USB storage device containing City Hall surveillance footage.

"The footage, per Mr. Callahan and upon review by the Chief, showed [redacted name] and Johnson accessing a closed hallway of City Hall," the report states, adding that the unnamed detective "entered the closed hallway by apparently manipulating a door lock."

Both Johnson and the other detective worked in the department's narcotics unit.

"At this time we're not able to speak because there is still a pending pre-disciplinary hearing for the other individual that was involved," Bradenton Police Deputy Chief Warren Merriman III said Monday afternoon. "We have to stand on the merits of the report at this time in regards to Johnson, who is in the grievance process."

Merriman said the other detective is still employed and may remain with the department after his pre-disciplinary hearing, which is set for sometime in June.

The police department, 100 10th St. W, is connected to city hall, 101 12th St. W., by a hallway.

The report states that Johnson and the other detective "repeatedly accessed the hallway and City Hall on Friday, February 7, 2014, and had undetermined access through Monday, February 10, 2014, due to their manipulation of the door lock."

Johnson was interviewed on Feb. 20 and asked why they reversed the latch of the door.

According to the report, the detective said: "Just so we wouldn't get locked out so we could use the bathroom or use it as a cut through."

Johnson added that the action was not authorized, the report states.

Johnson was asked why he didn't use the restroom at the Bradenton Police Department station. According to the report, Johnson responded that the restroom in the detective area is "nasty" and that potentially arrestees are in the hallway or offices.

Johnson described the restroom in City Hall as "out of sight, out of mind."

Copyright 2014 - The Bradenton Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service