Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti's right-hand man, Sgt. Donald Prichard, was accused of praising Nazi organizational skills and saying he wished BSO could use technology to follow U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and to catch her in wrongdoing, according to an internal investigation released to the Sun Sentinel.
Prichard was cleared of violating BSO policies regarding political, religious or discriminatory discussion, and policies regarding use of discretion, in December 2012 by Broward Sheriff's Office investigators.
He told the Sun Sentinel that the allegations are untrue. BSO officials advised him not to speak further because the surrounding case - that of his accuser - is still going to arbitration.
Formerly executive officer to then-Sheriff Lamberti, Prichard is now a sergeant in asset management, mostly dealing with the auto fleet, and earning $82,603. Lamberti lost the election in 2012 to now-
Sheriff Scott Israel.
The allegations against Prichard came to light this month because they're embedded in the workplace violence case of former BSO information technology employee Zach Flamberg, who was fired for allegedly making a veiled threat against Prichard.
BSO Spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said the agency doesn't 'feel it's appropriate to comment or have our employees comment,'' while Flamberg's case is headed to arbitration."Everything was investigated,'' she added, "and the only things sustained were the charges against Flamberg.''
Flamberg claimed Prichard praised the Nazis for being so organized.
The BSO investigative report shows that at least one BSO co-worker, Alexander Rodriguez, heard Prichard discussing Heimlich Himmler, Nazi military commander under Adolf Hitler, and also heard him make comments about Wasserman Schultz, but that employee defended Prichard, saying the comments were misinterpreted or taken out of context.
Flamberg claimed that Prichard struck up a conversation with Rodriguez about World War II. Prichard "mentioned that Adolf Hitler was crazy,'' Flamberg told investigators, but said "the Gestapo and the "SS" were efficient and that Prichard would like to pattern that type of organization.''
Flamberg, who is Jewish, said Prichard also stated, "If we could use our technology to follow Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz around, know everything she did, every minute of the day, then we could pull her over, charge her with something, and even if the charges did not stick, we would be able to then ... discredit her.''
Prichard allegedly then ''stated that he was only being hypothetical.''
Flamberg said he reported the conversation to two BSO officials, one of whom told investigators that Flamberg did tell him Prichard had talked about Turkey and Gestapo tactics.
BSO employee Joseph Damiano told investigators that Flamberg had told him the Prichard allegations as well.
"Damiano advised that Flamberg mentioned a discussion that he had with Prichard regarding how Prichard admired Heinrich Himmler's leadership style. In addition, Damiano recalled that Flamberg proclaimed that Prichard said it would be great if we had the technology to monitor Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz to catch her doing something wrong.''
Rodriguez, asked by investigators, "advised that approximately a month ago, he was present when Flamberg and Prichard discussed Heinrich Himmler discipline, and that Flamberg took the conversation out of context. ... Without being asked Mr. Rodriguez conveyed that Mr. Flamberg said that Sergeant Prichard had made a negative comment about Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz concerning cameras. I asked Rodriguez if Sergeant Prichard said that it would be great if we had technology to monitor Schultz to catch her doing something wrong. He replied, "Not in that context. Yeah, I mean, he, he, I guess the way I interpreted it he was saying this, we need the technology, but at the same time there are civil rights, you know that have to be considered. There's a balance we have to make. That is the way I interpreted it.''
Rodriguez also told investigators that during the conversation in question, they were talking casually about police discipline, and that Prichard "mentioned visiting an operation center while in Turkey and that he liked how the operation center appeared,'' the investigative summary says.
Rodriguez said Prichard did not discuss Hitler or the Gestapo, but Rodriguez did say that "Prichard indicated that he liked how the German army was disciplined,'' the investigative summary says.
When asked by BSO investigators what Prichard said about the German army, Rodriguez gave a somewhat unintelligable answer that was edited this way in the investigative summary: "I think ... the resilience to ... fight and in a discipline way and again stuff that you would hear on the History Channel about you know America commanders talking about, you know the German army, to my understanding, in general terms ... from ... military ... as no I recall he did not get into any political things.''
Rodriguez also told investigators it was "taken out of context,'' giving this somewhat unintelligable response: "He may and from a study ... their way of discipline, but I don't remember or recall him saying that he would pattern BSO to be like that.''
Asked about the Wasserman Schultz comments, Rodriguez did recall a conversation, saying it was about cameras that record license plates when you go through them.
"He gave an example of you know nobody has ... from a privacy perspective, he was ... concern and he gave like Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I don't know why he picked her, maybe ... she was ... at an event or something ... recently with the sheriff or something. I'm not sure, but he picked Debbie Wasserman Schultz as an exmpale, like hey, she can know, we can find out where she is throughout the county and it is more aconcern ponit of view ...the ... way I understood it.''
Rodriguez told BSO investigators that "Flamberg often joked and made reference to Prichard being a 'Nazi.' "
Flamberg was accused of committing workplace violence by allegedly saying, while handling bullets, that "this first one goes to Don Prichard,'' or that he had a bullet with Prichard's name engraved on it. Flamberg was fired and is fighting for his job back; he also filed a federal lawsuit, as we reported last week. Click here for a memory refresher.
Prichard told investigators he didn't talk about Hitler, the Gestapo or the SS, and doesn't admire the Gestapo. Asked if he discussed the Nazis or Germans, he told investigators, "no sir not in reference to that, if anything possibly the ...International Program that we have, and that's it.''
Prichard said he started BSO's International Relations and Culture Development Program'' through which deputies travel to other countries, including Turkey, Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine, to understand their cultures.
He said he didn't say he would use a camera system to follow Wasserman Schultz and catch her in wrongdoing.
"I have mentioned her name,'' he said, "but not in that sense, not in that context.''Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun