Historic City News received word this week of an altercation that occurred Wednesday night during a political debate between Robert Hardwick and Chris Strickland, the two candidates for St Johns County Sheriff whose names appear on the ballot during the Republican Primary Election August 18, 2020.
Video evidence collected at the scene shows that the trouble started after current sheriff David Shoar called another man into the restroom inside the meeting hall at the St Augustine Shrine Club on Brainard Road.
There were vulgarities exchanged between Shoar and the other man who was supporting candidate Chris Strickland for Sheriff. Shoar has been trying to spoon-feed votes to Hardwick and has been supplying Hardwick with money to finance his high-profile campaign.
A dozen or more of Shoar’s deputies and political cronies heard the loud argument underway and can be seen on video rushing into the men’s room and hustling everyone out to the lobby and the outside parking lot area.
Political news reporter Ed Birkett reported that at the time his party was leaving the building, he was talking to a couple of ladies about what was going on in the men’s room and why Sheriff Shoar was involved. Shoar had once written him a letter of recommendation. Birkett says THAT David Shoar has gone away.
According to the formal complaint, Shoar’s “undersheriff” who was attending the debate wearing “Elect Hardwick” attire, came out of a crowd of people, tackling Birkett and “strongly pushing” him into “an elderly lady”, breaking his fall.
Matthew D Cline, husband of local pediatrician Dr. Shelby Cline, has carried water for Shoar for about 10-years, first as “General Counsel”, he got a law degree from the controversial law school Florida Coastal School of Law, and for the past three years as “undersheriff”. He is paid over $140,000 annually to cover for Shoar when Shoar is not around and be his nanny and driver when Shoar is in no condition to do so himself.
Wednesday night, however, Lt. Shawn Emert assumed responsibility for handling Shoar. Emert was active as driver as well as “bodyguard”, possibly to keep Shoar out of any fights. The video of Shoar, recorded as Emert was driving him out of the parking lot, reveals Shoar behaving loudly and vulgar, at one point telling citizens near Strickland to “Go fuck yourself”, flipping them off from inside the vehicle (with the window rolled down) and slurring his speech and behaving as if he was intoxicated.
Birkett’s complaint asks that the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office not be allowed to investigate themselves on these charges, stating that he and his wife are “in fear for their lives.”