By WESH Staff | February 7, 2021 at 5:21 AM EST – Updated February 7 at 8:14 AM
LONGWOOD, Fla. (WESH) – A Florida police officer was fired after he allegedly taunted a coworker for her fears over COVID-19 and touched her against her will.
Cpl. David Hernandez of the Longwood Police Department was fired following an internal investigation. An unidentified female employee of the department accused Hernandez of workplace harassment in late July, saying he mocked her fears over COVID-19.
She claimed Hernandez would “mock and harass her by laughing that he couldn’t believe she is a ‘germaphobe.’” He followed her into her workspace “touching her personal items and speaking into her phone, joking that he doesn’t have the coronavirus.”
Hernandez is also accused of embracing the woman against her will after she told him not to touch her. At one point, it’s alleged she “struggled to get free of Hernandez, injuring her finger and back in the process.”
After weeks of interviews and witness statements, the investigative summary indicates the alleged acts had no other purpose but to harass, sustaining conduct unbecoming, employee harassment and violation of safety practices.
Also according to the documents, Hernandez was “not fully forthcoming and not truthful” during the investigation, leading the police chief to write in a letter to Hernandez there was “just cause for your termination.”
While the word “battery” was in the documents, no criminal investigation took place at the request of the woman who filed the complaint.
Hernandez’s firing is subject to arbitration, so it’s possible he could be reinstated.
When an officer’s credibility is called into question, the state attorney’s office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are notified. Police say they do not know of any cases where Hernandez was an untruthful witness.
There’s no word whether the state attorney is going to investigate the case further.
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