| Fort Myers News-Press
Police officer charged with failing to report suspected child abuse
In a press conference Tuesday, June 9, 2020, Fort Myers police announced the arrest of an officer who has been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse after a 2018 traffic stop.
A Fort Myers Police officer who was charged in June for failing to report suspected child abuse was dismissed of the charge on Monday.
Tyler Williams, 25, had been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 20, but with his subsequent arrest June 9 he was put on unpaid leave. With the most recent court action he returns to paid administrative leave.
“As of November 2, 2020 Officer Tyler Williams will now be on Paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs Investigation,” Kristin Capuzzi, a public information officer with the Fort Myers Police Department said.
Williams was taken into custody on June 9, after a officials conducted a criminal investigation that stemmed from an internal affairs complaint regarding Williams’ actions during a January traffic stop.
At 4:50 a.m. Jan. 18, Williams conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Colonial and Solomon boulevards where he found narcotics and paraphernalia in the vehicle. The child was a passenger in the back seat, according to court documents.
The child’s mother was also a passenger in the vehicle.
Almost a month later, the child, 3-year-old Serenity Robinson, died in a crash along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when she was thrown from a silver Kia Sedona van.
The van was the same one that was stopped in January by Williams and was being driven by her mother, Leslie Joe Zeagler, 30, who police say was under the influence of narcotics.
In a motion to dismiss, Williams argued that Robinson’s death was unrelated to the traffic stop in January and at the time of the traffic stop, Robinson was clean, in good health and was not in distress, giving Williams no evidence to suspect abuse, documents state.
The state argued that drug possession or use in the presence of a child could constitute as neglect.
In the motions order, Judge Nicholas Thompson granted the dismissal of Williams’ charge, stating there was nothing in the material of facts from the traffic stop that would have given anyone reasonable cause to suspect abuse to the child.
It was also stated that there was no evidence of drug use in the car in front of the child or evidence that the child was at risk of injury or harm.
“Certainly the subsequent death of the child is a tragedy, but there is no nexus between the traffic stop conducted by Defendant (Williams) and the accident that resulted in that death,” Thompson said in the motions order.