A Broward Sheriff’s bailiff accused of threatening behavior toward courthouse colleagues was temporarily relieved of duty and his 67 firearms were taken by law enforcement, the agency said Tuesday.
In court documents, Franklin Joseph Pinter was described as making threats toward other bailiffs. In May, one bailiff alleged that while delivering documents to Pinter’s courtroom, Pinter told him the defendants weren’t there and that he should “get the f out of here” and “All you rats should be exterminated.”
Six months ago, Pinter, 60, of Hollywood, was allegedly seen on the fifth floor of the courthouse, leaning over the atrium and pretending to hold a long gun and shoot at people, an affidavit said.
Another bailiff alleged that Pinter told him he wanted to burn two other bailiffs with a blow torch.
Pinter allegedly told another bailiff “I’m going to exterminate you.”
And another bailiff described how Pinter told him, “Nobody will take my guns, not over my dead body,” according to the affidavit. While in the courthouse garage, Pinter also showed off a newly purchased Glock handgun to a colleague and claimed he’d bought an AR-15 rifle, court documents said.
In granting the temporary order to take Pinter’s guns, a judge wrote that the court found “there is reasonable cause to believe the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others in the near future” by having guns and bullets.
Pinter was hired by the sheriff’s office in August 1992 and worked on the 10th floor in the west wing of the main courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Pinter is a civilian employee, Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said. She added that he has been placed on leave, not fired, pending evaluation.
No one answered a phone at Pinter’s home. His lawyer, Lewis A. Fishman, could not be reached for comment.
On May 25, the sheriff’s office sought the risk protection order, which a judge granted that day. In the afternoon, Pinter’s 67 firearms as well as ammunition and his concealed carry permit were taken from his home.
On March 9, Florida passed a “red flag” law that authorizes police to seize weapons from people who could pose a threat to themselves or others.
It was enacted almost a month after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Violating a risk protection order is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Six weeks after the new law was passed, a South Florida Sun Sentinel review found police in Broward County led the state in obtaining the risk protection orders and had obtained 34. Broward County’s Chief Judge Jack Tuter said in the April 26 report that half the cases involved mental health crises and the rest were for people accused of making online threats.
On June 11, a hearing will determine whether a final risk protection order should be issued for Pinter.
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