Alachua County Sheriff’s Office detective and candidate for sheriff Zac Zedalis was told Monday he would be fired.
The sheriff’s office made the decision in the wake of the results of an internal investigation surrounding a domestic battery event last July involving Zedalis and his wife, Sgt. Kathleen Zedalis.
Kathleen Zedalis was also told she will lose her job. They are both able to appeal.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the investigation centered around what ACSO said were conduct violations. Those violations include one count of criminal conduct, two counts of untruthfulness and one count of performance of duty (leaving his home to eat lunch without permission under administrative leave).
The pending termination follows a domestic battery call placed July 30, 2015, in which the sheriff’s office responded to a report involving Zedalis and his wife. She faces termination on one count of criminal conduct. Both were placed on administrative suspension.
Zedalis said he was concerned for his former wife’s 16-year career, and told the sheriff’s office everything was OK.
“I was a victim, and in the state of Florida a victim does not have a responsibility to report a crime. All I was doing was trying to protect my wife from being arrested that night, even though she was still charged,” he said.
A criminal investigation was conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and reviewed by state attorney Jeff Siegmeister. Siegmeister decided not to prosecute, and instead let the sheriff’s office handle the case internally.
Both Zedalis and his wife can appeal their firings to Sheriff Sadie Darnell. Zedalis is already calling the investigation biased because he is running against Darnell for sheriff in the Nov. 8 election.
“Now because I wanted to run for sheriff… I become the worst employee the sheriff’s office has had,” he said. “Clearly there’s political motivations for what we’re doing.”
Sgt. Brandon Kutner, sheriff’s office spokesman, said the office has gone out of its way to maintain an unbiased investigation.
“It’s absolutely not political,” he said. “We have not treated Zedalis with any different procedure or any different policy violation than we would bring toward any other individual at the sheriff’s office.”
Zac Zedalis is also under investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services for allegations of child abuse — allegations he denies.