Former Sheriff Darryl Daniels believed he lost his 2020 re-election bid because some state officials conspired to run him out of office. Eventually acquitted of seven charges, including destroying …
Former Sheriff Darryl Daniels believed he lost his 2020 re-election bid because some state officials conspired to run him out of office. Eventually acquitted of seven charges, including destroying evidence, Daniels said he has no party affiliation and will seek to regain his old job.
CLAY COUNTY – Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels wants the voters to give him his job back.
Daniels, who was removed from office in 2020 by Gov. Ron DeSantis after he was charged with lying to law enforcement and destroying evidence to cover up an affair with a former subordinate employee, filed paperwork last week to regain his job.
This time, he filed as a No Party Affiliation, which means both Democrats and Republicans can vote for him in the Primary Election on Aug. 20, 2024. Under Florida law, registered Democrats can only vote for Democrats in the primaries and Republicans can only vote for Republicans.
Daniels will join a race that includes incumbent Michelle Cook and newcomer Matthew O’Berry.
Daniels won the job in 2016 as a Republican. He quickly gained national acclaim for his bravado, primarily during major drug busts. A social media post of him following a raid on a drug house in the Hickory Glen subdivision in Orange Park featured him sipping coffee as 15 defendants were paraded from the home in handcuffs.
“As the sheriff of Clay County, I’m telling you if you want to commit crimes in Clay County, you’ve got options,” he said in the post. “You can stop what you’re doing, you can leave Clay County or you too will be on the receiving end of this.”
He then took a long swig of a cup of coffee and said, “Fifteen going to jail. Three big gulps. Y’all take care, Clay County.”
Daniels was less than a week from the primary in 2020 when he was charged with a felony charge of tampering with evidence and misdemeanor counts of giving false information to law enforcement. The charges stemmed from a coverup of an affair with a younger employee when both worked for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Cook won the primary five days later, Cook won the Primary Election, beating second-place Daniels by 3,121 votes and four other candidates.
DeSantis then suspended Daniels and put Cook into office on Sept. 1, 2020 – four months ahead of schedule.
Daniels was acquitted of all charges by a Clay County jury last September. He admitted to destroying his cell phone and not being forthcoming with investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but he said he did it to hide the affair from his wife.
It took less than three hours for the jury to agree with him.
Daniels issued a statement a day after the trial, drawing parallels his legal problems and President Donald Trump.
“I will continue to fight for them to ensure that we all receive equal justice under the law,” he said. “This abuse cost me the job that I loved, and it cost Clay County their sheriff.”
Daniels has maintained a low profile since the acquittal. Attempts to contact him since his filing weren’t successful.
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