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New Tampa activist accuses sheriff's deputy of assault

By LOGAN D. MABE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 16, 2000


NORTHDALE -- A New Tampa neighborhood activist has filed a complaint against a Hillsborough sheriff's deputy who ejected him from a tax district meeting.

Bob Doran of Tampa Palms was removed from the Northdale Special Tax District meeting Monday by Deputy Jay Mauk.

Doran says Mauk injured his left shoulder when he put Doran's arm behind his back and marched him out the door. Doran, a retired telecommunications manager, said he made an internal affairs complaint for what he calls Mauk's "unprovoked assault."

"I'm taking three medications, and my arm is in a sling," Doran said Wednesday.

Mauk, a longtime deputy and former detective, and internal affairs officials with the Sheriff's Office declined comment about Doran's complaint.

The tax district meetings are held at Gaither High School. Midway through Monday's meeting, a fire alarm went off, and a recorded message announced an emergency had been reported.

No one moved from their seats. Doran said he approached Mauk and said, "Under the circumstances, don't you think it would be a good idea if everybody left the building?"

Doran said Mauk told him he didn't think it was really anything important.

As another deputy made her way to the office to confirm whether it was a false alarm, Doran said he asked, "Wouldn't it be prudent to clear the building until she finds out what's going on?"

"He said, "Don't worry about it. It's being taken care of,' " Doran recalled. "There was a little bit of attitude at this point in his demeanor."

Doran said he started to write down Mauk's name and was reading his name tag when Mauk rose and took him by the arm.

"He said, "You are not going to disrupt this meeting,' " Doran said.

Then, Mauk put Doran's arm behind his back and walked him out of the school.

At the front doors of the school, Mauk released Doran. At the time, Mauk said he took Doran out because he was disrupting the meeting.

Doran said he was told not to return to the meeting or he would be arrested.

Doran said he then went to the emergency room at University Community Hospital and told the staff he had been assaulted. They, in turn, reported the incident to the Sheriff's Office. Deputy D.G. Rucks came to the ER and took Doran's statement, he said. Doran said he decided to file the formal complaint at the suggestion of Rucks and Deputy Laz Andino, who is also active in New Tampa organizations.

Doran said he attended the Northdale meeting at the request of George Helmstetter and his supporters on the board. Helmstetter was voted off the board during the meeting.

Before the vote, Doran addressed the board with questions pertinent to the discussion.

"If (Mauk) had asked me to leave, I would have left anyway," Doran said.

-- Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 226-3464 or mabe@sptimes.com.

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