GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels participated in ceremonies Wednesday at the National Police Memorial Wall to honor fallen motorcycle patrolman Ben Zirbel in Washington, …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels participated in ceremonies Wednesday at the National Police Memorial Wall to honor fallen motorcycle patrolman Ben Zirbel in Washington, D.C., controversy continued to grow back home stemming from an affair, accusations of stalking and possible payoffs to his mistress that started while he was working at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Jail.
Daniels accused a JSO corrections officer Cierra Smith, who said they had a romantic relationship dating back more than five years, of stalking him on May 6 after she followed him into the Oakleaf Plantation. Smith initially was detained, but she was released after Daniels refused to press charges, according to a supplemental report provided by CCSO.
Soon after that, news of their affair became public, followed by the release of secret audio recordings that suggest Daniels paid Smith to keep their relationship a secret. In the recorded call between Daniels, Smith and her ex-husband, Larry Smith, Daniels said: “There was an occasion where we did have sexual contact. Not like, probably not what you’re thinking.”
According to Smith’s five-page sworn statement, she and Daniels were involved “outside of work on a weekly basis” since 2013. Smith said he got engaged in 2015 and she broke off their relationship. She moved to North Carolina while her husband served in the military, but she returned last year and was re-hired to work at the JSO jail. Smith said the two continued to talk regularly, especially after they learned local media outlets were investigating their affair.
JSO reportedly previously investigated the affair and cleared Daniels.
Smith said the two were supposed to meet on May 6. After being followed, the sheriff parked at Oakleaf Village Elementary where Smith was stopped by another deputy, according to Daniels’ sworn statement.
Deputies found a loaded handgun in the glove compartment, but her attorney said she was allowed by have the weapon since she was a corrections officer.
Daniels’ wife, Denise Daniels, used her cell phone to record Smith following them on May 6. She was heard saying “This crazy heifer right here has been stalking my husband for the longest.” A copy of the recording was booked into evidence at the sheriff’s office.
According to his statement at Oakleaf Elementary, Daniels said, “I can draw no other conclusion other than Smith willfully and intentionally followed me in a manner that cause me great concern that if I stopped to engage Smith that I would be exposed to imminent danger.”
Daniels hasn’t been available for comment. All questions concerning the affair were directed to JSO.