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Deputy is arrested in domestic dispute

A report says an argument with his girlfriend escalated into shoving and damage to her car.

By DEMORRIS A. LEE
Published July 31, 2007


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A Pinellas County sheriff's deputy was put on paid administrative leave Monday after Pasco County authorities arrested him and said he assaulted his live-in girlfriend.

Deputy Kenneth Ray Garris, 52, was arrested at his home in Holiday at 12:28 a.m. Monday on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and criminal mischief.

Garris, a patrol deputy, was off duty at the time of his arrest. Because of the nature of the charges, Garris had to remain in custody 24 hours for a "cooling-off period," Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said.

According to a Pasco sheriff's arrest affidavit, Garris and his girlfriend of five years, Yvonne Chambers, argued soon after returning from a short vacation in St. Augustine. Chambers, 44, went outside to smoke a cigarette when Garris "followed her, yelling profanities at her," the report said.

Chambers told Pasco deputies she went back inside the home and tried go into the master bedroom but Garris wouldn't let her.

"When he put both hands on my shoulders to push me away I spit in his face," Chambers said in the report.

The two continued to argue, and Chambers said that at some point, Garris "grabbed my cell phone and shoved me to the ground." Chambers' jeans were torn at the knee, which had a scrape, the report said.

The incident continued to escalate as Chambers tried to leave in her 2003 Ford Focus. According to sheriff's documents, Garris broke the key in the car's ignition and put a dent in the side panel in an effort to prevent Chambers from leaving.

According to the affidavit, Garris said he could not remember everything that happened because it all happened so fast. He also stated he had recently been diagnosed with ADHD.

Chambers and her daughter Amber Chambers provided written statements of the incident. Garris declined to provide one because "he did not want to incriminate himself by writing a statement," the affidavit said.

A Pinellas deputy since 1995, Garris has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Monday was not the first time deputies had been called to Garris' home. In May 2006, another Pinellas deputy's take-home cruiser was torched while parked outside his residence. No arrest has been made in that incident, said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Jim Bordner.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or dalee@sptimes.com

[Last modified July 30, 2007, 20:29:16]


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