Andrew Sheets, candidate for Charlotte County Sheriff, is now essentially banned from every law enforcement building in the county.
Less than two weeks after being banned from the Punta Gorda Police Department, Sheets was trespassed from all Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office buildings on Tuesday.
If he visits either a police department building or a sheriff’s office building in Charlotte County within a year, he could face arrest.
Sheets visited a CCSO building Tuesday and asked to speak with someone in the internal affairs department in order to file complaints against the sheriff. An officer handed him a trespass order. A video he sent to the Sun showed he left the building screaming profanities.
The reason for his trespass is continuous inappropriate conduct toward office employees, CCSO told the Sun.
He is now banned from any CCSO property, including district offices, the jail, administration building and the training center.
Sheets often files or attempts to file complaints against CCSO — he filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics alleging that Sheriff Bill Prummell violated Florida’s ethics laws on nepotism.
Prummell addressed the investigation on his Facebook page earlier this month.
“It’s true I have an open ethics complaint on this subject and that is because one of (my opponents) filed it,” Prummell said on Facebook. “I don’t think either (opponent) knows the law or they would know better than to try and make it an issue. I have already received the unofficial word that it is unfounded, as I knew it would be, but it must go through the official channels before it is closed.”
Florida law states that a sheriff cannot hire or promote family members, and Prummell has done neither, he said.
“I do have family members on the CCSO, but they were hired by prior sheriffs or before they were family,” Prummell said on Facebook, referring to a deputy that was hired at CCSO in 2017 and married Prummell’s daughter in 2019.
On Oct. 8, Sheets was trespassed from the Punta Gorda Police Department after six incidents dating back to July that were documented in a trespass warning obtained by the Sun. Sheets had caused commotion inside the PGPD Public Safety Building by screaming obscenities at officers, the report states.
Sheets has trespass warnings from many other government buildings in Charlotte County for similar situations. He has been trespassed from the DMV, the Historic Court House and the Downtown Farmer’s Market, according to police records. He also has been trespassed multiple times from City Hall and the City Hall Annex.
These incidents usually stem from Sheets recording video in a government building. A Punta Gorda city ordinance bans all audio and video recording unless the recording is of a publicly noticed public meeting, if the recording is of law enforcement activities, or if the actual consent of everyone present has been obtained. Charlotte County added a similar restriction last year.
Sheets contends that people have the right to record in government buildings and that the ordinance is illegal.
He filed a lawsuit against the city of Punta Gorda regarding the ordinance after he was banned from City Hall, but ultimately dropped the lawsuit.
The legality of the city’s ordinance has been questioned in the past. In an April 27, 2017 felony warrant request from the State Attorney’s Office, it is stated that the SAO was asked to consider whether videotaping in a city building is a violation of Florida Statute and deemed that it was not a violation.
The statute prohibits the secret use of recording devices, not those that are in plain sight. Sheets’ camera is usually around his neck.
In the disposition notice, Assistant State Attorney Richard T. Simpson wrote: “A citizen’s right to film government officials, in the discharge of their duties in a public place is a basic, vital and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment. Openly recording falls plainly outside the type of clandestine recording target by F.S. 934.03. The restrictions intended by the statute apply to the secret use of devices.”
Sheets is running for Charlotte County Sheriff as a write-in candidate. His platform focuses on ending the “war on drugs,” firing and arresting “bad cops,” and ending “policing for profit.” He also owns Andy and Nida’s Handyman & Cleaning Service and runs the Charlotte County Copwatch YouTube and Facebook accounts.