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Florida Deputy Fired, Faces Felony Charge After Being Accused Of Helping Cousin Evade Domestic Violence Arrest

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - A central Florida deputy has been fired and is facing charges after police said he tried to help his cousin avoid a domestic violence arrest.

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos López said Deputy Kevin Encarnación also faces third-degree felony charges of official misconduct and being an accessory after the fact in the family's dispute, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"We had a victim of domestic violence who's calling for our help, and now we have a guy who is in my uniform using my equipment trying to help his family member to get away with a crime," López said.

The sheriff said a woman came forward with text messages showing the deputy had revealed the locations of his fellow officers to his cousin as they tried to arrest him. The cousin now faces an aggravated assault charge, and an earlier assault case has been reopened.

"The real hero is the victim," López said. "If she wouldn't have come forward to let us know how she was discovering this information ... we would have probably never known that this guy was putting our officers in danger."

An arrest affidavit said the cousin threatened to hit the victim with a brick before throwing it into the back passenger window of a pickup truck on Oct 2. He left the scene and deputies went to his mother's house that night to look for him, but he wasn't there, perhaps because Encarnación had warned him, the sheriff said.

Encarnación also tried to discredit the victim by claiming she had mental health problems, López said.

The cousin was already on probation after allegedly punching a relative who told authorities he was trying to stop the man from attacking the same victim in March, the arrest report said. That case has now been reopened.

The sheriff said the department's new community review board will examine the case, and the firing will almost certainly be upheld.

It was not immediately known whether Encarnación has a lawyer who could speak in his defense.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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