Manatee sheriff's deputy suspended for stealing medical records

MANATEE — A deputy was suspended for 258 hours without pay for conduct unbecoming of an officer after she stole her medical records from a Tampa clinic, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office professional standards investigation.

On Oct. 25, deputy April Dugan went to the Premier Center for Cosmetic Surgery in the 300 block of South Hyde Park Avenue to get copies of her medical records. When she was told there was a fee of $1 per page for the first 25 pages and 25 cents for the subsequent pages, she grabbed the records and walked out of the office, according to the report.

When she left, the employee at the front desk told John E. Waterman, the center’s chief financial officer, about the confrontation. He walked outside and asked Dugan several times to return the documents.

Waterman told investigators that as he reached for the records, Dugan struck him on his left cheeck with her elbow, which “sent his glasses flying on the ground across the parking lot,” the report said.

Dugan was off-duty at the time.

During the struggle, Waterman said Dugan told him she had 15 years of experience in law enforcement.

Dugan told investigators she was trying to obtain copies of the medical records because she is going to sue the center for “very bad results” from a procedure that left her “disfigured,” the report said, adding that the clinic never told her about the fee.

Dugan also said Waterman struck her in the face and that she “does not believe she ever touched him,” the report said.

There was “no clear or compelling evidence as to who was the primary aggressor in this instance,” the report said.

As Dugan stored the records in the back seat of her car, Waterman walked up, retrieved the records, and went back to the center. Dugan called the police.

Tampa police officers responded to the scene. Theft and battery charges were not filed against Dugan because Waterman signed a complaint withdrawal. But Dugan was issued a trespass warning at the center.

The investigation began Nov. 1 and was completed on Jan. 25.