CLEARWATER, FL – A police officer in Clearwater, Florida, found himself behind bars on Tuesday after allegations surfaced that he offered to excuse a woman from jaywalking charges in exchange for inappropriate acts.
Officer Nicolas Paloma, aged 29, is now facing charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. Having served the Clearwater Police Department since 2018, this incident tarnished not only his reputation but also raised questions about the department’s integrity. Police Chief Eric Gandy expressed deep frustration during a press briefing, emphasizing the severity of the trust breach the incident has caused. “Our community entrusts us with their safety. This act undermines that trust and casts a shadow over the dedicated officers who serve honorably every day,” Gandy commented.
The incident in question unfolded in the early hours of a Sunday near Clearwater Beach’s roundabout. The 32-year-old female pedestrian, identified as a tourist, was stopped by Paloma. As per the reports, Paloma coaxed the woman into his patrol car, suggesting he could help her avoid charges in return for personal favors. The officer’s actions did not stop there; he took her on a drive around Clearwater Beach, engaging in illicit activities before leaving her near her hotel.
The incident came to light when local authorities responded to a dispute between the victim and a friend. During the altercation, the victim revealed her encounter with Paloma. Chief Gandy iterated that such behavior is inexcusable in law enforcement, particularly within the Clearwater Police Department.
The Clearwater police, wanting to ensure comprehensive justice, are urging anyone with relevant information to come forward. They are also coordinating with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to uncover if there are any other potential victims. Chief Gandy emphasized the seriousness of the allegations, stating, “Under the guise of his duty, Paloma committed these actions. We must proceed with utmost caution.”
At present, Paloma is on administrative leave. His records indicate no prior disciplinary actions.