Deputy suspended without pay after being arrested at White Lion

Historic City News has learned that while patrolling downtown at about 2:11 a.m. Saturday morning November 23, St Augustine Police Officer Jonathan Correa was hailed by management at the White Lion Tavern on Cuna Street.  Three patrons were refusing to leave the bar after “last call” and one man was in the middle of “a screaming match” with the bouncer, Correa reported.

The patron, 37-year-old Richard S Petkovsek, a sheriff’s detective in Flagler County, was at the bar with his wife and another female guest.  According to the incident report, Petkovsek and his party were upset because they were denied entrance to the establishment, while the bouncer allowed another female into the bar “right before them”.

“I heard Petkovsek yelling multiple obscenities at the bouncer and threatening him, causing a public disturbance,” Correa stated in his arrest affidavit.  “I told him to walk to the exit with me, and he looked back at the bouncer and told him, you’re lucky.”

Once outside, Correa told Petkovsek that he and his party were going to be issued a written trespass warning.  However, when Correa asked Petkovsek for his identification, Petkovsek refused.  Correa reported that Petkovsek said, “No, I’m not giving you my ID, I’m leaving”.  According to the report, Petkovsek turned and began to walk away from Correa, who grabbed his left arm.  Petkovsek quickly pulled away, refusing a second time to produce his identification and attempting to walk away, again.

“I attempted to grab him to secure him and he slapped my hand and stated don’t touch me,” Correa wrote.  “At this point, I grabbed him by both arms, and he began resisting me.”

An additional officer on the scene aided Correa in taking Petkovsek to the ground after he “tensed up” and refused to comply.  Once on the ground, Petkovsek kept pulling his arms away, refusing to cooperate.

After finally securing Petkovsek, Officer Correa charged him with one count of disorderly intoxication in a public place and causing a disturbance, a second-degree misdemeanor, and one count of resisting an officer by obstructing, without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor.  All three in Petkovsek’s party were issued written warnings not to return to the White Lion Tavern.

Although the misdemeanor crimes were committed in and are being prosecuted in St Johns County, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, where Petkovsek has been employed since April 30, 2014, is currently reviewing the facts of the case to determine further personnel action.

“It is sheriff’s office policy to immediately suspend, without pay, any deputy who is arrested,” Flagler County Chief Mark Strobridge told Historic City News.  “Sheriff Staly has directed that an internal investigation be conducted.”  Strobridge also said that the sheriff is “very disappointed in the conduct reported by the St Augustine Police Department.”