St. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A long-tenured St. Petersburg police sergeant is demoted after a bullet-throwing outburst.
The former sergeant is also the executive vice president of the local police union. He is being demoted to the rank of officer after he threw a round of ammunition at another sergeant while on duty, the department said Wednesday.
What led to the bullet throwing outburst?
James D. “JD” Lofton went to the other sergeant’s home and “engaged in a verbal dispute” about 8:30 a.m. Sept. 29, police said. He threw a bullet at the peer during the argument, according to police.
“This was perceived as a threat and possible aggravated assault since Sgt. Lofton had his department-issued firearm in plain view and accessible on his belt,” the department said in a statement.
Lofton confronted the other sergeant about text messages the man had sent to Lofton’s wife, who is a detective at the department, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Lofton said he looked at phone records and saw his wife had texted the other man 1,000 times in a month, according to the internal affairs report.
As a result, he asked the sergeant to stop contacting her. However, the peer-sergeant said they were only friends.
Lofton didn’t deny throwing the round of ammunition at the other man. Moreover, he later told investigators he meant the bullet to be an “attention-getter.”
The news account said the incident would not lead to criminal charges.
Sergeant has admirable record
Lofton was a leader in the department’s training division, but has not held that position since the investigation began. He joined the department in December 1999, according to police, and his personnel file is full of training certificates and positive performance reviews. His brother, George, is a detective and president of the police union.
George Lofton said his brother’s term on the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association’s board is up at the end of the year, and he did not run for re-election.
Union will contest demotion
Furthermore, George Lofton said the union would contest the ruling.
“The punishment as far as the demotion was extremely harsh and over the top, and we are going to take it to arbitration,” George Lofton said.
James Lofton will have to go to anger-management therapy in addition to his demotion, which includes his removal from special units.
He declined to comment.