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Tampa officers reveal off-duty deputy would have been arrested if not for law enforcement background

Posted: 5:31 PM, Mar 30, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-31 07:54:48-04

Two officers with the Tampa Police Department admit an off-duty Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy and his wife would have been arrested if it wasn't for their law enforcement background.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Division of Internal Affairs released their administrative investigation into a deputy and his wife, also an employee of the office.

Sergeant Christopher Caris and his wife have been suspended after an investigation reveals the two were in violation of Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office rules and regulations.

The report states the Tampa Police Department contacted the sheriff's office in West Palm in December, after Caris was allegedly intoxicated and trespassed from the Tampa Marriott Hotel Waterside in downtown Tampa.

Tampa Police responded to the hotel off Florida Avenue after hotel security staff requested assistance to remove unwanted hotel guests, later learning of the law enforcement background.

Police body cam video shows the entire encounter of police trying to escort Caris and his wife out of the hotel.

A Tampa police sergeant repeatedly told Caris that he had been drinking, "you are heavily intoxicated," said the officer. 

Throughout the entire video, Caris shouted profanities at the officers and told them he was in law enforcement in Palm Beach County and knows the law. 

In an interview with internal investigators Sgt. Christopher Ugles with the Tampa Police Department was asked why Caris was not arrested he responded that the Marriott staff didn't want them arrested, and just asked the Carises be issued a trespass warning.

Other officers on scene responded to the question different.

Police Officer James Wilcher was asked if Sgt. Caris wasn't a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office employee or law enforcement officer would he have been arrested, "in a heartbeat," he stated.

Another Tampa Police Officer, Joseph Ramos, said he did not think Caris and his wife violated state statute for disorderly conduct, but went on to say if Caris wasn't a law enforcement officer he would have been arrested "100%."

Ramos went on to say he was in shock at the behavior and lost respect for Caris and his wife.

Another Tampa police officer stated Caris and his wife were intoxicated and they "committed multiple crimes."

When investigators asked why they weren't arrested, Officer Todd Magyarosi responded that the hotel just wanted a trespass warning to be issued.

The Tampa Police Department tells us they will not comment on another department's internal investigation, but that they did not arrest Caris because the hotel wanted them trespassed.

Despite what the two officers thought, Tampa Police Public Information Officer Steve Hegarty adds the decision was the sergeants call, based on all the factors and that Caris and his wife eventually agreed to leave.