A Pasco County deputy has been fired after his agency accused him of planting drug paraphernalia on a suspect.
Stephen Leblanc had been on the job for less than two years. It appears he was targeting a man in New Port Richey and crossed the line.
“Do your job, don’t do our job. We’ll do street justice. We don’t need him,” said Denisemarie Rock, who lives on the street Leblanc often patrolled.
She’s glad to see him get fired.
“I’m very excited because if you are going to be a law enforcement officer, be a law enforcement officer. Don’t be a crook, don’t be a dirt bag and fight for my rights as a citizen,” Rock said.
The Sheriff’s Office is accusing Stephen Leblanc of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
It relates to a case in November when Leblanc was arresting Thomas Parisi for spray painting a wall with an anti-police sentiment.
“Our information relays that Leblanc would personally tell people, 'I’m going after this person. I have to go after him,'” Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
Investigators said Leblanc had it out for Parisi, so he got drug paraphernalia from another neighborhood drug user, two spoons, a syringe and a crack pipe, and put the items in Parisi’s bag.
“No matter how much these offenders may irritate us, get under our skin, and we want to go out there and take action, we have a responsibility to take action properly,” Nocco said.
Nocco said the deputy may have targeted the man because Parisi spray painted his own trailer with the words “Leblanc for Sheriff, 2016.”
“Do I think the deputy had it out for him? I would say absolutely. But we all did because he’s a jerk,” Rock said.
The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy’s own body camera helped the case. But Leblanc also turned it off, which is against policy.
They also said he changed his mind, and did not go through with the set up.