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Concerns over officer's credibility lead to charges dropped in multiple criminal cases

Concerns over officer's credibility lead to charges dropped in multiple criminal cases
Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 08:00:32-05

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — The Florida State Attorney's Office has dropped several recent criminal cases against suspects arrested in Marco Island, due to the alleged unreliability of one of their officers.

But the situation goes back over five years. In November 2013, Assistant State Attorney wrote a letter to Don Hunter, who was Marco Island's police chief at the time. The letter explained that Officer Tige Thompson's "allegedly inconsistent and potentially untruthful testimony" in a 2011 case led to the State Attorney's Office dropping that case.

In January, the Office dropped three more cases in which Thompson was involved, saying that they would not be able to call him as a witness.

Peter Tremont, 61, was arrested in one of those cases. A SWAT team was called in when Tremont allegedly threatened his mother with a weapon.

Retired out-of-state police chief Walt Zalisko said that when an officer can't testify, justice isn't being served.

"If the officer cannot make arrests and testify for a successful conclusion to that case, he's not an effective public servant," Zalisko said.

But David Harden, the new interim city manager for Marco Island, said that since he was made aware of the situation involving Thompson last week, the city will most likely be removing him patrol duty.

"Whether it involves putting him in a different position where he's not in patrol, or some other type of action," Harden said. "We're looking at what our options are right now."

Thompson previously worked for the Collier County Sheriff's Office from 1993 to 2004. A spokeswoman for CCSO said, quote, "...his appointment was withdrawn."