BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — BocaNewsNow.com reported last week on the arrest of Roger Ploof, a 24-year-old triple-degreed graduate of Florida Atlantic University who was arrested by Boca Raton Police on a charge of domestic battery. His alleged crime: physically picking up a girl “friend” and removing her from his home after she reportedly became upset that another girl had decorated his Christmas tree.
She knocked down the tree before being removed.
BocaNewsNow.com was not there and has no idea what truly happened. Our experience with Boca PD reveals a department that is top-notch, professional and plays by the rules.
However, through Freedom Of Information Act requests, we have discovered that the call for police assistance was not made by the young woman, but instead by her aunt, off-duty Boca Raton Police Dispatcher Debbie Jacquinta.
As you can hear in the call at the 26-second mark, Jacquinta — who tells her colleagues that she wishes to remain anonymous — refers to the incident as a “battery.” In Florida, a domestic battery almost always leads to an arrest. Legal experts often refer to a word like “battery” as a “trigger” word — a word that could be used by a police dispatcher to set the tone for a response. An officer responding to a “battery” may react differently than an officer responding to a “domestic dispute” or “a boy and girl arguing.”
The department’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) report indicates that the call was dispatched as “domestic trouble,” suggesting the “battery” claim was never transmitted to officers. However, off-duty dispatcher Jacquinta did meet officers at the scene, and rode in an officer’s patrol car. It is unclear what she told them, or if her presence had any impact on the arrest. It is also unclear why she called police instead of her niece.
In the Affidavit of Probable Cause, obtained by BocaNewsNow.com (and available here), Ploof told police that the two were arguing after dinner, that the young woman “followed him home and went inside the house.”
“She poured liquor down the drain. They ended up in his bedroom, still arguing. He then, in order to get her to leave, picked her up in the same manner (the woman described to police) and carried her out to the living room where he set her down. She pushed over the Christmas tree. Roger then put his hadns on her back and carefully pushed her out as she resisted and tried to keep from moving forward. He also put her purse outside.”
Both Ploof and the victim apparently agree that Ploof did not physically hurt her. He merely picked her up against her will, which is considered battery in Florida. Ploof, however, states that part of the affidavit is incorrect. He says in an attempt to prevent the alleged victim from drinking more, Ploof — not the girl — poured all alcohol down the drain.
BocaNewsNow.com pulled Jacquinta’s personnel file. With the exception of a few minor incidents in the 1990s, it is overall spotless. But the arrest raises several questions which attorneys will likely hash out in court, including: did Jacquinta go too far by using the word “battery?” Should Jacquinta have identified herself as an off-duty police dispatcher to her co-workers who took the call? (One police misconduct attorney says this is standard in many departments nationwide). And should Jacquinta have been involved at all — calling police on behalf of her allegedly scorned niece? Also, did her presence at the scene have any impact on Ploof’s arrest? Remember: she was not there at the time of the “battery.” She returned to the scene with her niece after calling police.
In fact, Ploof tells BocaNewsNow.com that he has a recording of his arrest and that his attorneys will strongly question Jacquinta’s actions as an employee of the Boca Raton Polce Department — asking, among other things — why Jacquinta came to his house an hour after her niece left and then called police.
Ploof, whose Palm Beach County record amounts to nothing more than a few speeding tickets, tells BocaNewsNow.com that the “victim” never asked the judge to have him sign a “no contact order,” an order that would keep him away from her and is frequently used in domestic cases. Instead, Ploof says he asked the judge to sign one on his own — keeping his accuser away from him.
It is currently in effect.
Boca Raton Police Department says Debbie Jacquinta did nothing wrong and remains actively employed. As is standard for any case involving a police employee, supervisors responded to the scene of Ploof’s arrest. Computer records show they remained on location for several hours. The department has declined to provide an official statement. Our offer to publish it verbatim, at any time, remains.
Ploof, who was released from jail on his own recognizance, will be arraigned on January 2nd. A trial is expected to take place before March 2nd.