The deputy has been suspended without pay and will be terminated.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has suspended Deputy Dedorious Varnes, who is Black, without pay pending further investigation after a criminal investigation by FCSO detectives revealed he made over 50 threatening phone calls to a 67-year-old Palm Coast man who was the victim of a battery after a race-related argument. In one of the phone calls, the 67-year-old was called a "white motherf------."
The FCSO responded to Angela Drive on Feb. 26, after receiving a phone call from the 67-year-old stating he had been battered by Patell Troutman, a 42-year-old Black man. The 67-year-old told deputies that Troutman, Ray Muller (another neighbor) and he were watching TV inside his garage when the topic of racism was introduced and an argument between the three men began.
The 67-year-old stated the argument turned physical after Troutman began pushing him in a manner that he described made him feel like he was being “swung around like a ragdoll.” The 67-year-old said Troutman then left his residence but returned shortly after and began banging on his door, demanding he come back outside. Instead of engaging further, the 67-year-old called FCSO.
Prior to this incident, the 67-year-old told deputies that Troutman and he had been friendly, and that he had even loaned Troutman $340 to buy groceries for his child. When FCSO arrived, Troutman was no longer in the area. Witness testimony and surveillance footage confirmed his description of events.
While FCSO was still on scene, the 67-year-old began receiving calls from a restricted number he believed to belong to Troutman. In the calls, the caller began asking the victim not to press charges against Troutman and to think about what damage could be done emotionally to Troutman’s child if he went to jail. The 67-year-old told deputies that he had never given Troutman his phone number and did not know how he had it. FCSO forwarded charges against Troutman to the State Attorney’s Office for battery.
Deputies eventually made contact with Troutman on March 9, during a traffic stop. When questioned about the incident that occurred in February on Angela Drive, Troutman stated that he did push the 67-year-old but only in self-defense. Deputies informed Troutman that the 67-year-old was pursuing charges against him for battery and the case is under review by the State Attorney.
Detectives traced the anonymous threatening phone calls back to Varnes' cell phone. Varnes admitted making the phone calls and said that he "did not think he was going to get in trouble and thought it was funny," according to his charging affidavit.