Questions linger in North Port police scandal

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Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 4:56 pm

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Details continue to come to light in the shocking case of Melanie Turner and Rick Urbina, two North Port police officers accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a party. Many in the community are now raising questions about a possible police cover up.

Especially noteworthy to the public are the courtesy calls Turner and Urbina received informing them that they were going to be charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment, and that they were about to be arrested.

"[Urbina] was alerted to the fact the police officers were going to come and arrest him, which probably provoked the outcome of this case,” says concerned Sarasota County resident Kenneth Goff. “The outcome” Goff references being Urbina taking his life on Friday before North Port P.D. could take him into custody.

"[The courtesy call] is not something the regular John Q. Public would have happen to them,” Goff says. “[The police] would just show up and take them into custody.”

We reached out the private detective Bill Warner, who says courtesy phone calls aren’t uncommon when dealing with law enforcement.

“One thing you have to keep in mind is that he's armed and he has a weapon,” Warner says. “You have to make some kind of arrangement when you go and arrest an officer to make sure its going to be a peaceful adventure."

But Warner did find other discrepancies.

“The other officer, Melanie Turner, had known the victim and had been in a prior relationship with the victim. That fact alone gets me wondering about [if] this happened before, [and] who gave the okay signal to have sex with the victim," Warner says.

According to reports, the off-duty Turner contacted the on-duty Urbina and invited him to the party. Shortly after Urbina's arrival the two officers handcuffed the victim and escorted her to a bedroom where the assault took place.

Warner says the action seems routine, as if this wasn't the first time it happened. Warner has another concern.

"Why did they redact [Turner’s] whole statement the night of the incident?” Warner asks. “That's what I’m concerned about; even though she was intoxicated she had to be spilling her guts about something to the police. So why would you redact the whole statement?"

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