The sheriff’s office isn’t releasing the mugshot of corrections office Fred Register, snapped at the county jail where he used to work, after his arrest Friday night on two charges of domestic battery stemming from a police report describing a drunken assault on his wife and son at their Eastpoint home.
The news release, and Facebook post, from Sheriff A.J. Smith’s office note that “per Florida Statute, law enforcement officers photos are exempt from public record.” According to an attorney for the Florida Press Association, the law gives a sheriff discretion for releasing a mugshot if he or she believes it may compromise the safety of the officer and their families.
What Register, 45, is not exempt from are the legal and financial consequences of his actions before about 10 p.m. that night, when a report from Deputy James Hamm says the officer arrived at the house to find a boy outside, “upset screaming my dad just beat me.
“I then asked Mrs. Register if she would speak with me privately to which she walked over to the edge of the road,” wrote Hamm. “Once over by the road I shined my light on Mrs. Register and could see an abrasion on her neck area that went from right to left side.”
Mrs. Register told the officer she had returned home from a going-away party for her niece, when she was unable to open the garage door with the door opener. When he was asked by his wife and son to help, Fred Register had left the room, followed by his wife, who asked “why he would fix the door so she could not get in.
“Mrs. Register stated that Fred took his belt and wrapped it around her neck and pulled it tight till she fell down to the floor,” read the report.
The younger son said he witnessed his father putting a belt around his mother’s neck.
The older son told the officer he jumped out of bed after hearing “a loud thump (and) a scream” and ran to the living room where he saw his father “removing the belt from his stepmother’s neck.”
A violent confrontation between father and son ensued throughout the house and yard, including the boy grabbing a kitchen knife for a brief moment, before throwing it down. Mrs. Register told the deputy the two “fought in the house hitting the walls. Photos were obtained of the walls that had holes and blood on them.”
Register was transported to jail and charged with battery. “(He) was intoxicated at the time of his arrest so no statements were obtained,” reads Hamm’s report. “I advised Mr. Register that I would make contact with him when I come back on duty to obtain an audio statement.”
Smith said Register, who had worked overseeing inmates at the county jail since Oct. 2011, resigned over the weekend.
“I was going to fire him,” said the sheriff. “I have zero tolerance for that kind of stuff, especially domestic violence. I’m not putting up with it.”