Man Threatens to Kill Sheriff’s Deputy, Says “I hate all white people… I will shoot you”
UPDATE: 2/1/2017, 8:45 P.M. – The Sheriff’s Office offered the following statement regarding the decision not to enhance Mr. Thomas’ charge to a hate crime: According to Lt. Lakin, As the victim and arresting deputy, Deputy Croft chose to arrest Mr. Thomas for the crime of assault on a LEO. Mr. Thomas in this situation, as in others, appears to be using racial epithets while threatening the deputy however the hostility appeared to be based on his interaction as a law enforcement officer as opposed to being based upon his race. Mr. Thomas has behaved similarly during interactions with other LEO’s including my personal contact with him. Therefore he was charged appropriately.
BROOKSVILLE – A Brooksville man with a long history of violence found himself behind bars again Monday, after he assaulted a Sheriff’s Deputy during an incident on Wiscon Road.
According to reports, while investigating a trespassing complaint at 17230 Wiscon Road, Deputy Brett Croft was approached by 54-year-old Derrel Thomas in an aggressive manner who screamed “What the f**k are you here for. You need to f***ing leave.” Thomas continued screaming profanities at Croft and refused to stop placing his hands in his pockets, despite numerous commands. Thomas continued taking his hands in and out of his pockets while screaming “I’m going to kill you f***ing white boy,” which prompted Croft to place Thomas into custody.
While en route to the Hernando County Jail, Thomas said “I hate all white people for what you did to my ancestors.” Thomas went on to threaten Croft by stating “I will remember your face, next time I see you, you’re dead white boy, I will shoot you, I’m not scared, you are dead.”
Thomas is charged with simple assault on a law enforcement officer and was booked into the Hernando County Jail on one count of simple assault. Thomas posted a $1,000 bond just four hours after being booked.
Thomas was arrested three times in 2014 for aggravated assault and aggravated battery. He was also arrested in 2012 for aggravated battery. According to the Florida Department of Corrections Database, there is no record of Thomas spending any time behind bars in state prison.
According to Florida Statute 777.085: The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim. The statute requires that any a charged be enhanced to the next level if there is evidence of prejudice while committing the offense. For instance, a second degree misdemeanor would be upgraded to first degree, a first degree misd. would increase to a 3rd degree felony and so on.
RNRF contacted the Sheriff’s Office for comment to ask why the charge against Thomas was not enhanced. We are currently waiting on a response.
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