North Port police face allegations of wild parties, drug use

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NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Since we first reported the ongoing scandal involving sexual assault at a party attended by on- and off-duty North Port police officers, multiple people have come forward with stories about previous wild parties involving members of the department. One of these people is a former law enforcement officer here on the Suncoast, and while he wasn't at the party the night of the alleged assault, he says he has been to several other similar parties hosted and attended by North Port cops where things got out of hand.

The former law enforcement officer requested that we withhold his identity out of a fear of retribution. He claims to have detailed knowledge of what goes on at these parties and who was in attendance.

"Sergeants used to come to the parties. There was always a lieutenant at the parties, regardless if we hung out [at home, or went] somewhere and got a table with several people. [There] was also calling around to see who was working the zone to make sure that we could drive home safe while intoxicated."

That allegation of drunk driving by police only scratches the surface.

"There was a comfort level that cuffs would get taken out, a [gun] would get taken out -- they play around with these things,” says the informant. “If there is a weapon on the counter, it’s common."

I asked if he had witnessed any sex or other illicit activities at these parties. “Yes, there have been,” he said. “Drugs, too. … Yes, and I witnessed it.”

He also claims Melanie Turner, who is facing sexual battery and false imprisonment charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault at a party on March 2nd, was among a group that would regularly initiate group sex with party attendees. 

"When they would get drinking they would get touchy-feely, and if you didn't want to be part of that, she would specifically call you names,” he says.

Our source says Turner regularly bullied men into sexual encounters involving multiple partners. “She would demean you; make you feel like you’re not a man," he says. "Partner swapping isn't that much of a big deal for them."

At the party on March 2nd, Taylor and Officer Rick Urbina allegedly handcuffed a woman before sexually violating her – a turn of events that doesn’t surprise our informant.

"It was always calling to see who’s working the zone to make sure that if you [did] do something stupid, [you could] call and get a hold of that lieutenant or get a hold of that sergeant and they'll make sure everything is ok,” he says. “That was the attitude; that was the mentality. So they felt like they were above the law."

Officer Turner is currently free on $20,000 bail while she awaits trial. Officer Urbina took his own life on March 20, right as law enforcement was moving in to arrest him.