The Bodycam Video: Minute by Minute

By Mike Lednovich

Editor’s note: This is a running summary of the police bodycam footage of the Oct. 29 bicycle accident involving City Manager Ty Ross. We hope it helps citizens debating this incident to form opinions based on the known facts.

New Fernandina Beach City Manager Ty Ross is seen sitting cross-legged on the grass in the dark confused and unable to provide coherent answers to police questions on video recorded by a Fernandina officer the night of Oct. 29.

Ross, who has admitted to having too much to drink downtown, crashed his bicycle near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and 14th Street. Two motor scooter riders saw Ross sprawled on the lawn of a house and summoned police at about 7:30 p.m.

Ross was in his second week on the job as Fernandina City Manager.

As the officer approaches, he asks “How are you doing sir?”

Ross responds “What’s up boss?” and extends his right arm to give the officer a fist bump.

The officer asks Ross “What’s going on tonight?”

Ross said “I am. Just taking in the sounds.”

He is asked whether he lives in Fernandina.

Ross responds “Unfortunately I live here. I’m the…”

The rest of his reply was redacted by the city.

The officer asks “Were you out drinking tonight?”

Ross did not answer.

The officer states “It’s alright if you were, just trying to get you home.”

Ross then responds raising his hands “It’s the real deal.”

The officer then makes a radio call to his supervisor and says “You might want to be 51 on this. The code “10-51” means subject is drunk.

The officer then asks witnesses “What was he (Ross) doing?”

The witness reports “I thought he (Ross) got hit. He was laying in the grass.”

During the conversation, Ross lays back down on the lawn.

“He wasn’t moving much and I didn’t see any blood,” the witness said.

The officer goes back to Ross and asks “Do you need an ambulance?”

Ross answers “No.”

The officer then makes a cellphone call to his supervisor.

The first part of the call was redacted by the city.

“He was riding his bicycle down the road flailing around,” the officer said.

Another portion is redacted, then the officer said “No, I didn’t know if you wanted to know because of who he was.”

The call ends.

The officer then asks Ross if he wants a ride home.

Ross said “yes” and after giving the officer his home address, he stands and takes a slight stumble,

The officer helps Ross walk to his patrol vehicle and asks “You don’t have any weapons or knives or anything on you?”

Ross answers “hell no.”

The officer searches Ross and puts Ross in the back seat of his police vehicle.

He then loads Ross’ bicycle on the patrol car.

Ross remains silent for the five-minute drive to his house.

As the officer parks his vehicle, Ross asks about his bicycle.

“I’ve got your bike right here,” the officer tells him.

When the officer opens the passenger door, Ross raises his hands in surrender and remains seated until the officer tells him “You’re good, you can relax, I’m going to walk you to your front door.”

After giving Ross his bicycle, the officer tells him “Just a heads up, if you ever need a ride or whatever, just give us a call and we’ll try to get you home. So that way you don’t fall off your bike and get hit by a car because that wouldn’t be good.”

Ross said, “That wouldn’t be good.”

As the video ends, another officer says “that’s not good” about the incident.

12 Comments
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Alex Wood
Active Member
Alex Wood(@alex-wood)
2 months ago

Enough already. I am sure there are more important things than this crap. He messed up. We all do.
Strike one. I’ll bet we don’t see strike two. If drinking affects his job, he’s out.

MyFernandina
Active Member
MyFernandina(@myfernandina)
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Wood

This is more than a “mess up”–does it warrant dismissal, no, but a public censure and warning is in order.

dcayscue
Active Member
dcayscue(@dcayscue)
2 months ago

Unless 10-51 has a different meaning in the City than it does in the County (which it doesn’t because they use the same dispatch), 10-51 stands for ”en route”. While I know you probably looked up 10-51 and got a code you wanted, codes are different in many areas for many reasons. Just another correction, at least for the area, there is no 10 code for ”drunk persons”; it’s a signal. So unless the officer specifically used the term “signal #” (which I’m not going to explain any more codes/signal to a reservist in the PD) then the officer never identified the subject as “drunk”.

srcocchi
srcocchi(@srcocchi)
2 months ago
Reply to  dcayscue

No code needed. The video shows this, witnesses assessed and Mr. Ross has admitted.

Mike Lednovich
Trusted Member
Mike Lednovich(@mike-lednovich)
2 months ago
Reply to  dcayscue

Commissioner Ayscue: the error has been corrected and thanks for explaining the Nassau County code to us. We however did not search for a code that designated “drunk.”

Bob
Noble Member
Bob(@bob)
2 months ago

Right. No law was broken. It’s unfortunate he was inebriated while biking. Thanks to the officers for helping. Great community!

He who has never erred may throw the first criticism.

JJC
Active Member
JJC(@jjc)
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

You can be charged for DUI on a bicycle in Florida. FBPD has done it in the past, though it has been several years. Secondly, the circumstances surrounding the scene can lead to a DUI charge without the officer seeing the person in actual physical control of whatever the vehicle is. From the video, in all likelihood a crime was committed. I’m sure everyone that drinks in Nassau County would love to know they just have to call an officer to get a ride home instead of a ride to jail.
If nothing else, public intoxication or disorderly conduct would apply.
Further, is there anything else out there with Ty Ross that has not come to the public for scrutiny. Parking in fire lanes perhaps? City vehicle unattended while running? Harbinger of things to come most likely!

Mark Tomes
Noble Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
2 months ago

I have been around enough drunks to know that this guy was way over the limit. Strike one is when you’re hired as a city manager and know you should never be drunk in public. Strike two is when you get so drunk you can’t even ride a bike or coherently talk or even halfway know where you are. Strike three could be right around the corner.

JJC
Active Member
JJC(@jjc)
2 months ago

If this happened on October 29 and did not come to light for a month that is troubling. Did the City Commissioners know and not disclose it? Did Ty Ross not tell the Commissioners? Either way, it is a failure of leadership and should not be tolerated. This is more than just a minor bicycle mishap, like the 10% of an iceberg you see…!

chipross
Member
chipross(@chipross)
2 months ago

The City employment manual states “the continued success of the City is dependent upon the trust of its citizens and City staff is dedicated to preserving that trust. Employees, whether on or off duty, owe a duty to the City and its citizens to act in a way that will merit the continued trust and confidence of the public.”

None of the City Commissioners or the City Attorney were made aware of this incident until a public record request was made on November 28th, almost a month after the incident for the police officers body camera video of the incident.

On that video the City Manager is asked by the police officer whether he lives in Fernandina. The City Manager replies “unfortunately I live here. I’m the …”. The remainder of the reply was redacted.

When I asked the City Manager why he did not report the incident to the City Commissioners, City Attorney, or the public he stated that the incident “occurred on his own time” and “it did not seem important.”

A special meeting has been requested by two City Commissioners to discuss this matter. The City Commission must now decide whether the City Manager merits the continued trust and confidence of the City Commission, the City staff and most importantly the public. 

ggarner
Noble Member
ggarner(@ggarner)
2 months ago
Reply to  chipross

I assume all employees have a copy of this manual? If this situation hinges on whether or not an employee acts in a way that will merit the continued trust and confidence of the public, then what is the determinant of the outcome? Does this bicycle incident outweigh the City Manager’s performance on the job? Will his ability to manage the City adequately, maximize the budget or execute projects to benefit the city and its citizens take a back seat to the bicycle incident?

paulward
paulward(@paulward)
2 months ago

The officer said he wanted to pat down the city manager for weapons because the latter was getting in the police car. Don’t police need some individualized suspicion before a pat-down search? Does FBPD practice ‘’stop and frisk’’?