Last Wednesday, Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister sought out and visited Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for lunch at his house. Chronister’s initiative took place a month after he had Howard-Browne arrested for allegedly violating a county order during over a church service that practiced social distancing. Howard-Browne’s arrest on March 30th made national and international news.
We asked Chronister if he ever before had a private private meeting with a defendant in an active criminal case where the meeting was at the defendant’s home. We received no response from Chronister or HCSO’s Public Information Officer Crystal Clark.
“Our office is aware that the Sheriff has been talking with the pastor to ensure his continued compliance with the law,” State Attorney Andrew Warren’s Chief Communications Officer Grayson Kamm told The Guardian. “Our office has not dropped the charges against Pastor Howard-Browne.”
We asked if there were any plans to drop the charges against Howard-Browne. Kamm responded that his office “cannot comment on potential outcomes for pending cases.”
“On Wednesday, we took our first steps towards reopening the church,” Howard-Browne said in an e-mail to church members. “Sheriff Chronister asked to come and see us, so we invited him to our house, and he came and met with Adonica and me. We had a great lunch together and discussed the way forward—and the role of The River Church, in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Department—as Hillsborough County opens up.”
Our previous reporting on Chad Chronister:
Social distancing rules for thee, but not for me, as case against pastor weakens
Chronister’s big bromance event 11 weeks ago with pastor he now arrested
Convicted felon is main money draw at Hillborough Sheriff election fundraiser
Chronister’s private luncheon with a defendant in an active criminal case only adds to an already existing impression that the entire matter was a publicity stunt from day one. That the entire matter is cynically designed to generate media exposure for both men. Chronister is on the ballot in November.
“We applaud the Sheriff’s efforts to promote responsible social distancing throughout the county,” Kamm said. However, the above picture from Chronister’s luncheon with the Howard-Browne’s shows that Chronister doesn’t practice the social distancing that he
preaches “promotes.” Chronister has previously and very publicly ignored social distancing guidelines that he arrests people for not following.
On Friday, charges were quietly dropped against the defendant in another and similar high-profile coronavirus-related arrest in Pinellas County. Just two days before the charges were dropped, Pinellas Sheriff Gualtieri described that defendant as “a jerk” for disagreeing with the sheriff’s interpretation of the law. Gualtieri is an attorney.
Will State Attorney Andrew Warren also quietly drop charges against Howard-Browne? As State Attorney Bernie McCabe did for Gualtieri.
Will Warren wait to drop the charges until Hillsborough County “opens up” and news of the dropped charges can be quietly buried by government-friendly local media like e.g. Bay News 9? Which is what Bay News 9 did for Gualtieri in the aforementioned case.
As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.