Jury finds Pinellas deputy guilty in post-storm incident

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 9, 2007

A federal jury on Thursday found Pinellas County sheriff's deputy Richard G. Farnham guilty of a misdemeanor charge of violating a victim's civil rights without bodily injury.

Farnham, 34, had faced a more serious felony civil rights charge for the incident that occurred after he traveled to the Panhandle to help out after Hurricane Ivan.

Farnham, who joined the Sheriff's Office in 2000, was part of a unit of Pinellas deputies sent to help bolster law enforcement in Ivan's aftermath. Farnham was with a deputy from Santa Rosa County when two men fired guns at them, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office.

Farnham was accused of illegally kicking and using a Taser on the suspect during the 2004 arrest. Farnham was indicted in November under a federal civil rights law that has been used only a handful of times against law officers in Florida in the past few years.

Farnham will remain free pending his sentencing April 24. He will remain on administrative leave, the Sheriff's Office said.