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Three Panama City Officers Suspended

By: WJHG-TV
By: WJHG-TV

It all started with a minor fender bender almost two weeks ago, in downtown Panama City. The suspected driver, Richard Albritton, III, was allegedly drunk and left the scene. This week he lost his job as an assistant state's attorney.

Albritton interviewed a few months back was allegedly involved in a hit and run crash in downtown Panama City on September 27th.

Panama City Police say Albritton who was a prosecutor at the State Attorney's Office , left the scene. A short time later, officers from the Panama City Police Department found him passed out behind the wheel in the drive-thru lane of the Taco Bell on 23rd Street. Lauren Markham happened to be behind Albritton in line and called 911.

"We tapped on his window and he rolled down the window and he was laughing saying, “Oh, I'm drunk,” and basically got angry with us," Markham said.

In the police report, one of the officers said he smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Albritton's SUV when he arrived on scene, but they didn't arrest him.

Instead, the officers let Albritton's girlfriend take him home go home because he only lived a short distance away.

This action has come under scrutiny from a lot of people. As a result, the three officers who were involved have been suspended without pay.

"These officers that are involved have a very strong work records. They made an error in judgment, they made bad decisions and as a result discipline is coming down," John Van Etten, Panama City's Chief of Police said.

One sergeant was suspended for three days, and both the other officers were suspended for one day.

Albritton faces arraignment October 31st on the misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.


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