Reporter dismissed as 'a small insignificant worm' by Sheriff Mike Chitwood, but award-winning journalism prevails in showing why he's the farce behind the force

Investigative Reports: Sheriff's Internal Affairs, Mike Chitwood Farce behind the Force /  Headline Surfer

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer
Column: People, Places & Things

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When Sheriff Mike Chitwood had one of his PIOs turn me away from his first press conference after his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3, 2017, under threat of arrest, I took it as a badge of honor and walked away because I knew I'd eventually prevail.

Chitwood talks big, but he's a coward who knew I was gunning for him at that press conference as to how his former campaign manager got a plumb $53,800 PR job working for him when he had 51 deputy vacancies, many making $18,000-$20,000 less and putting their lives on the line. Even when the politicians who catered and connived with him leading to big pay raises, the VCSO is in shambles.

Every part of me that morning wanted to stand my ground as a member of the working press, but having undergone life-saving surgery for a massive aortas aneurysm and a torn heart valve discovered while in the ICU for a month with pneumonia, I left. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of having me handcuffed and carted off to jail. Especially given the fact I was lucky to survive the invasive surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center six weeks after I was rushed to the Seminole County Regional Hospital in Sanford the morning of the 2016 Super Bowl Sunday.

And while I had hoped to get the big story out there, it all just snowballed. In hindsight, though, I lost quite a few more battles with all too frequent ER visits and hospitalizations for my weakened heart and lungs. I had other news and publishing responsibilities, plus my family and a commitment I made with full support of my wife, Serafina, to earn a Master of Arts degree in new media Journalism from Full Sail University.

When I confronted him in writing about the circumstances and the furor it has created, I had no problem with him dismissing me, stating in part, "You are a small insignificant worm who must hate your reflection in the mirror... Not nearly as biting as his calling County Manager Jim Dinneen a "lying sack of shit," a quote that will soon be put into context as to what he really meant...

But when Chitwood accused me of faking health despite the fact I underwent life-saving surgery for a massive ascending aorta aneurysm and torn heart valve after 4 weeks in ICU for pneumonia two years ago on Super Bowl Sunday, with some four dozen ER visits & hospitalizations since then, Chitwood CROSSED THE LINE...

 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.