I heard that it was the intent of some of the Jasper Councilors on April 24th was to fire 17 year employee Jennifer Hightower, MMC City Clerk. That truly would be unwise but what is concerning the family is that Ms. Hightower is being harassed and stalked to the point that anonymous individuals are taking the air out of her tires as well as her mother’s vehicle since her mother is fighting for a better City.
I have heard a lot in my time but to harass or retaliate against a whistleblower is beyond the pale. Do you not realize that should you harm her or fire her she has the perfect EEOC complaint against the Town of Jasper. And unlike the EEOC Complaint our Town Manager made against the City of DeBary, Jennifer Hightower will be represented and not get the standard do it yourself letter our manager received. Then she can sue Jasper in a Federal Court.
I have been told that the staff is fearful of working at City hall because of the volatile workplace and no one on the council has the intelligence to either get rid of the Town Manager or have the Town Manager Williams go in for a psych evaluation, be reprimanded, taking his weapon out of City Hall and asking for him to apologize. No Town Manager I know of gets a two year contract and that is beneficial to both parties. If he was a good manager he might get a raise; if he is a bad manager, his contract would not be renewed or the Council should get rid of him.. The City Council furthermore had the right and the obligation to advise Mr. Williams to keep his weapon at his home. If he is found to be mentally unstable, the courts will remove all weapons from him for a year, depending upon whether he is medically and mentally fit at that time.
It can be shown to the EEOC and to the Federal Courts that the Council did nothing to handle this situation other than to hire an attorney as Rhett Bullard requested the council to do. This way the attorney will whitewash the matter like was done in the White Springs Anita Rivers Case. And the council doesn’t realize that if Williams is mentally unstable like he allegedly was last night smirking and not even an apology for his threats, Williams could decide to shoot the citizens at council meetings if he doesn’t get his way.
With Rhett Bullard trying to save Mr. Williams job because Mr. Williams probably enticed the council to bring Bullard on as their City attorney apparently Bullard will do anything even if it is believed to be wrong. Ms. Hightower and other staff members also have to put up with sexual harassment. Mr. Williams didn’t even consider apologizing and by pretending to be this macho man who he is not, it places everyone at risk.
But of course, Rhett Bullard seems to like people who are not intellectual enough to think for themselves; then they can depend on him. This manager has also threatened the Chief of Police for not removing Mrs. Hightower from a meeting and stated the Chief was in for a reprimand the next morning. What kind of alleged idiots and mentally deficient people does Jasper and White Springs hire and furthermore, Rhett Bullard obviously has taken his inabilities to another level for his purpose or someone else’s?
Now the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office would not provide Ms. Hightower’s mother or the Jasper News with the offense report citing it was under investigation; however, the initial complaint has nothing to do with the investigation and as a result Joe Griffin received said report.
“On the 5th day of April 2018 at approximately 2200 hrs, I responded to 12193 SE 50th Drive in reference to a harassment call. Upon my arrival, contact was made with the complainant Jennifer Hightower. Mrs. Hightower gave me a verbal and written statement that she was being threatened by Charles Williams at her place of employment. On 04/04/18 at approximately 1000, she entered his office to discuss the preparations for the upcoming council meeting with her and that this made her very uneasy. Williams began questioning her on why Margie Geddes spent so much time in her office and for what she was searching for. Mr. Williams then stated that he was adding a request for a two year employment contract to the agenda for the meeting on 04/19/18. He continued to say that if I don’t get what I want, I will take you down. At this time, he shifted his body, whereupon she saw that he had a gun on his side. The flap on the case was open. Hightower asked what does that mean? Williams replied, you will see. Hightower was very upset after becoming aware Williams had a gun.
After exiting William’s office, she was shaking, visibly distraught and her face noticeably red. Several co-workers asked if she was OK. Hightower replied, “No, Charles just threatened me”.
On 04/05/18 at 5:15, in the witness of Margie Geddes, Mr. Williams was verbally aggressive and yelling at Hightower with his hand on his gun case and stated he would get the council to deal with you. Hightower states that several others heard his tone down the hall in the back offices.
Hightower states that Williams has created a hostile work environment and that it is a threat by displaying his gun as a threat to possible consequences. She is afraid of Williams, that he has created a work place of fear. That she is afraid to report to work and perform her job without endangering herself.
Hightower said she reported this to the Mayor and was advised to get a report done.
Hightower was very distraught during the course of investigation.
Hightower advised she is worried about her safety.
Hightower was advised to take this matter to her boss. Hightower said she would but she wanted a report taken.
Statements may be included in this report.
This report to be forward to my Administration for further investigation and/or actions.
Officer Lee Harden took the information for the report. Latrell H. Smith is the supervisor.”
Furthermore Mr. Williams should be investigated by the Sheriff’s Department for “Assault with a Deadly Weapon” instead of “Harassment”. Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida is defined as follows:
Assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill in Florida can be charged as an aggravated assault under Fla. Stat. %784.021(1)(a). If you are accused of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, you will face more serious attempted murder charges.
As with any assault charge in Florida, the prosecution needs to prove there was an intentional threat by word or action or do violence to another person, combined with the apparent ability carry out the threat and the taking of an action which created a well-founded fear in the other person that violence was imminent. The prosecution does not need to prove that you intended to harm the person and you can be convicted even if nobody was hurt. (This seems cut and dry in Ms. Hightower’s case)
A “deadly weapon” is any object that is used or is threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Examples of things that can be considered deadly weapons are:
- Knives, including small pocket knives
- Cars and other vehicles
- Glass bottles
- Steel-toed boots
- Any solid object used as a club
- Substances used as poisons
Penalties for this charge:
If convicted of aggravated assault after being accused of assault with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony, you face:
- Up to five years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines
If the deadly weapon involved in the assault was a gun or destructive device such as a pipe bomb, you would face long mandatory minimum sentences under FL. Stat. %775.087
- *Mandatory minimum three years in prison for assault with any gun or destructive device.
- Mandatory minimum 15 years in prison for assault with any automatic weapon or high-capacity (20 rounds or more) semi-automatic weapon.
- Mandatory minimum 20 years in prison if the weapon is discharged during the assault.
- Mandatory minimum 25 years in prison and possibility of life in prison, if the victim dies or suffers great bodily harm.
There are circumstances such as a mistaken belief that the action was justifiable such as self defense, the action was not committed in the course of committing another criminal offense, that the accused does not pose a threat to public safety or that the offence does not justify
the imposition of such a sentence.
THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT WAS WRONG IN NOT ARRESTING OR CHARGING CHARLES WILLIAMS WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AS IS HEREIN DEFINED. His only defense would be the fact that he is mentally unstable but he definitely should not be the Town Manager for the next two years. Hire another Town Manager or Make Ms. Hightower the Town Manager.
Rhett Bullard is covering up a crime as are the Jasper council members. This should be investigated by the police/sheriff’s office and NOT by some Attorney.
Karin for the blog