Sergeant Keith Vidler from Orange County Sheriff’s Office is one of the deputy sheriffs involved in Jeremy Dewitte’s impersonation cases. He and Corporal John Ramsey began the impersonation investigation in 2019.
During that time Jeremy Dewitte claimed he and his employees were being harassed by the deputy sheriffs, particularly Sergeant Vidler. Dewitte made statements alleging Vidler was violating his Fourth Amendment rights and threatening to arrest him and his employees.
It was not the first time a citizen claimed Sergeant Vidler was violating their Fourth Amendment rights.
In 2010 Sergeant Keith Vidler claimed he saw a woman named Amanda Fields standing by her car. When Vidler approached Fields she stated she was an inspector with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and she was having difficulties with some barbershops in the area.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, or DBPR, oversees licensing and regulation.
Barbershops and barbers are required to be licensed and comply with safety and sanitation rules. Barbering without a license is a second degree misdemeanor. Only three people in the last 10 years were sent to jail for this crime in the state of Florida in 2010.
Sergeant Vidler claimed he told his supervisor Lieutenant Ron Chapman, and members of Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation planned an operation.
Surprisingly the sheriff of Orange County in 2010, Jerry Demings, and the head of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation never knew about the joint operations.
On August 19, 2010, two days before the operation, Inspector Amanda Fields and another DBPR inspector conducted a walkthrough of six barbershop locations. One of those locations was Strictly Skillz Barbershop located in a predominantly African-American and Hispanic community.
The owner of the shop was Brian Berry.
Inspector Amanda Fields stated she was performing a routine inspection but she later admitted she was gathering information for the sting operation.
The Strictly Skillz barbers were cooperative, no violations were found, no citations were issued and Inspector Fields even complimented Brian Berry on the progress he made in the shop.
DBPR is only permitted to conduct inspections once every two years. However, two days later DBPR and Orange County Sheriff’s Office would conduct a second inspection as part of their sting operation.
Licensed Strictly Skillz barbers Jermario Anderson, Reginald Trammon and Edwyn Durant stated on August 21, 2010 at least five barbers were on duty and the shop was filled with close to 25 customers who were predominantly Black or Hispanic. School was almost in session and several of the customers were children.
The barbers claimed police cars pulled into the shopping plaza and blocked off the parking lot, preventing anyone from entering or exiting.
Ten officers in bulletproof vests, masks emerged with their guns drawn in front of the customers, including the children. Inspector Amanda Fields was also present.
The officers ordered all of the customers to leave the barbershop and the officers fold the customers Strictly Skillz was closed down indefinitely.
Regional Trammon and Jermario Anderson were patted down and handcuffed. Sergeant Keith Vidler, who was a Corporal at the time, admitted he was the supervisor on scene and he ordered the deputies to detain Trammon.
When Trammon said he had not done anything wrong, one of the officers allegedly responded, “It’s a pretty big book, I’m pretty sure I can find something in here to take you to jail for.”
Edwyn Durant wasn’t handcuffed but he was told to “sit down and shut up.”
Brian Berry, the owner, walked into the barbershop and identified himself. Deputy Travis Leslie immediately placed Berry Int’l handcuffs and patted him down.
While Trammon, Anderson and Berry were restrained, Inspector Fields and the Orange County officers conducted an inspection of the barbershop. The officers called in their driver’s license information to search for outstanding warrants. Amanda Fields checked the barbering licenses for the second time in two days.
The officers and Inspector Fields searches the workstations and looked through drawers. Orange County officers searched an unlocked storage room which had no connection to the barbering services that were offered.
The raid lasted one hour.
Brian Berry, Jemario Anderson, Reginald Trammon and Edwyn Durant filed a suit against several of the officers, including Keith Vidler and Dave Ogden who was a captain with Orange County Sheriff’s Office during the raid.
Ogden is now the police chief of Windermere. Police Chief Ogden made one media appearance after Jeremy Dewitte’s police impersonation arrest and spoke out against Dewitte and Metro-State Special Services.
The Strictly Skillz barbers alleged, among other things, that the barbershop inspector violated their Fourth Amendment rights.
The Eleventh Circuit court stated the raid not only violated their Fourth Amendment rights during the unconstitutional search, it also violated state law.
The August 21, 2010 search was executed with a tremendous and disproportionate show of force and no evidence exists that such force was justified.The Eleventh Judicial District Court
The lawsuit also named Sheriff Jerry Demings, deputies Travis Leslie, Terry Wright, Kim Parmenter, Tracy Weiss and corporals Donald Murphy and Antorrio Wright.
The raids were conducted on August 21, 2010 and September 17, 2010. The targets were at least nine barbershops and 39 arrests were made for barbering without a license. Of the 39 arrested, 38 individuals were either Black or Hispanic.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation fired several employees who were invoked in the raid. Employees were fired after an internal review of a series of Orange County Sheriff’s Office barbershop inspections with DBPR.
During these inspections canine units were used at times, property was damaged and some of the DBPR inspectors claimed they failed to document the inspections.
Although DBPR fired those involved in the raid, Orange County Sheriff’s Office stated an internal review determined the deputies who were involved did nothing wrong.
Brian Berry passed away in 2016.
On December 2, 2019 Jeremy Dewitte was arrested in Orlando, Florida. A warrant was issued for Jeremy Dewitte’s arrest by Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Sergeant Keith Vidler. The warrant expired before December 2, 2019 however the arresting officer, Deputy Sheriff Michael Fuller stated he was unaware of the expiration.
Fuller claimed Jeremy Dewitte ran a red light and he was driving on a suspended license without his knowledge.
A traffic infraction hearing was set but has been delayed several times because of the coronavirus.
A source provided an alternative view and video of the traffic stop and arrest that occurred on December 2, 2019.
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