CLAY COUNTY – Sheriff Darryl Daniels offered an apology for a six-year affair with a subordinate a day after he returned home from Washington, D.C., to attend a ceremony honoring fallen deputy Ben …
CLAY COUNTY – Sheriff Darryl Daniels offered an apology for a six-year affair with a subordinate a day after he returned home from Washington, D.C., to attend a ceremony honoring fallen deputy Ben Zirbel.
Daniels acknowledged “personal incidents” and vowed to refocus his attention solely to his work as Clay County’s top lawman.
He issued the following statement on May 17:
“I want to take the time to acknowledge a series of personal incidents. I have, in the past, made decisions in my personal life that I truly regret. I sincerely apologize for the embarrassment my past personal decisions have caused. My family has asked that I not discuss private matters in public, so I will not be commenting further on the personal aspects of this issue.
“As I have told the Clay County Sheriff’s deputies and staff, I want you to know that every day of my career I have put on my uniform and done my level best to serve the people whom I am sworn to protect. It is an honor to serve with these members.
“To the citizens of Clay County, I reiterate my mission: to keep you safe and battle crime in your neighborhoods.”
Daniels called CCSO on May 6 and demanded Cierra Smith be detained for stalking him. Smith said she was 21 when she started a six-year affair in 2013 with Daniels, who is 27 years older, while he ran the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Jail, during his campaign to be Clay County’s sheriff and until recent months.
Smith’s estranged husband reportedly alerted JSO of the affair.
Smith said Daniels gave her more than $30,000 in payments during their relationship.
The two were scheduled to meet on May 6 in Oakleaf. Smith followed Daniels into the parking lot of Oakleaf Village Elementary. Deputies quickly responded after Daniels called for help, saying he felt threatened by Smith.
Daniels said in his written statement: “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.”
Smith was detained but quickly released. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Daniels for the stalking charge.
Daniels resigned from the board at St. Johns Classical Academy on May 20 and as a trustee at Orange Park Medical Center on May 22.