Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Protect and Serve


On Jan. 31, Boynton Beach police knocked on Jimmy Dac Ho’s door. He walked outside to his patio when they told him they were investigating an afternoon shooting at the Marina Village condos.

His shoulders slumped over; he started breathing heavily and blurted, “It was self-defense.” He told detectives he was an FAU officer and his life was ruined.

The breaking news hit FAU when Ho was arrested for shooting escort Sheri Deann Carter twice, leaving her paralyzed below the waist. She later died at Delray Medical Center.

While in custody, he resigned his position as corporal and then tried to hang himself the day after. Currently, he’s sitting in Palm Beach County’s main detention center waiting for his next court visit on April 8.


The man once behind the badge now behind bars

The former FAU officer who was arrested for shooting an escort had records of violence before already facing first-degree murder charges


Slipping through the cracks

An FAU officer for five years, Ho won an award for “Perfect Attendance,” but he also had a deep, dark past.

In 1995, as a Lauderhill officer, Ho was in a car accident that killed a 74-year-old man. He didn’t use lights or sirens while in pursuit of a car.

In the same year a woman involved in a DUI accident filed a complaint against Ho. He allegedly stole $200 from her purse during her arrest.

At the hospital, Ho held her hand against her breast, calling her a “bad girl.” He waited 10 hours after the accident before he notified her family of her medical condition. After she was released Ho visited her home four to five times saying “she was a special case” and “all the guys at the station thought [she] was a streetwalker or hooker and he had to straighten them out.”

He transferred to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) in 2002, working there for two years before he was fired for being an “unbecoming employee,” with battery charges filed from his wife.

FAU hired him in 2006.

Ho applied to 11 other law enforcement agencies before FAU hired him.

Chief of police Charles Lowe said that he had nothing to do with Ho’s hire. “He was hired before I got here,” he said.

Before Lowe, William Ferrell was the chief of police and the hiring process was different. Under Ferrell, psychological and polygraph examinations were optional.

When Lowe came, he made them mandatory.

All officers in the state of Florida, including at FAU, need to follow minimum qualifications set forth by Florida Statute 943.13.

One requirement states that an officer should: “Not have been convicted of any felony or of a misdemeanor involving perjury or a false statement, or have received a dishonorable discharge from any of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

According to Broward County Sheriff’s records, Ho was fired for not conforming to the law. He was charged with battery and his wife placed a restraining order on him.

Ho’s application to FAU shows that he was suspended and terminated from BSO because of domestic violence and his internal affairs investigation as a Lauderhill officer, but FAU still hired him.

Lowe has never made any contact with former police chief Ferrell and could not provide specific answers regarding Ho’s hire.



A mistreated community

Under Chief Lowe, Ho received multiple complaints from students, officers and other staff members at the station, but the UP was told that “FAU does not comment on specific personnel issues” and was unable to discuss situations regarding Jimmy Ho and the investigation.

“You have all the public records. Let them speak for themselves,” said Kristine Gobbo, assistant vice president of media relations.

On Jan. 29, 2008, Ho received his first civilian complaint and was sued by Iraq veteran and former student Clinton Cimring for being “unlawfully detained and physically assaulted.”

Cimring was arrested for shoplifting a textbook that was already paid for by the US Veteran’s Association. There is a 24-hour voucher policy at the bookstore that required Cimring to wait a day before the payment for his $93.35 textbook to go through.

On the way out of the bookstore, he was confronted by FAU police.

Cimring said Ho “slammed” him into the bookstore’s storefront. His right shoulder rotator cuff was torn and his glasses broke as a result. During an internal affairs investigation, bookstore employees who witnessed the arrest made comments.

“[It] did look kind of unnecessary to push him like that. It was kinda like, ok, you’re trying to look like a big, bad cop,” bookstore employee Lauren Kuzbyt told investigators. But she didn’t think the push would cause injury.

Jason Lempert, who also saw it, said Ho “pretty much threw him against the wall,” but employee Steven Nieratka thought Cimring “struck the glass with his head as an act of frustration.”

On the way to the station, Ho opened the inside window of the patrol car took, out a black folding knife and brandished it near his throat, and told Cimring about his FBI tactical training.

Currently, Cimring is suing Ho, FAU and the bookstore for counts of false arrest/imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligent hiring and retention, and loss of consortium, which is an inability to maintain normal marital relations.

As part of the case, FAU is being sued for negligent hiring and retention.

“They should have fired this guy in the first place, but they kept him on. They didn’t retrain him, dismiss, or reassign him. They didn’t lift a finger and we will prove that,” said Gary Hellman, Cimring’s attorney. “If it settles, they will pay [Cimring] some money.”

A year later on Feb. 20, 2009, Kamau Ellison made a civilian complaint against Ho for “rude and discourteous treatment and harassment.”

According to reports, Ellison went on a break from class to check his cell phone when he noticed what appeared to be a taekwondo class. He was approached by Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructor Lieutenant T. Merritt, who said he had to leave the area because secret techniques were being shown.

Ellison told him if he didn’t want anyone to see the class then he should cover the windows. He asked to see posted signs, statutes or rules in the student handbook that prohibited him from standing there.

Then Ho was called to the scene.

Ho took his identification, then pulled out his pepper spray and shook the can. Ellison said he would sue Ho and FAU if he was sprayed.

Investigators conducted interviews and reviewed statements and tape recordings, but Ellison’s complaint was deemed “unsubstantiated.”

The UP was unable to contact Ellison.

Seven months after his second complaint, Ho was involved in another incident that resulted in a two-day suspension without pay.

Later that year, on Sept. 19, 2009, Ho was called to the scene when a drunken student spat on an elevator camera in Heritage Park Towers.

According to the complaint filed the next day, the student, who wishes to remain anonymous, apologized and offered to clean up his mess, but Ho asked him to lick the spit off the camera.

“The officer insisted that I lick up the spit although I asked not to and [he] told me that I could lick my spit or be taken to Palm Beach County Jail,” the student wrote in a complaint. “I complied, stood on a chair and licked the spit on the camera multiple times.”

The student was allowed to go back to his dorm and was not given any student referral.

Resident Coordinator Lauren Adamo, Corporal Ulysses Boldin and two community service officers (CSOs) witnessed the incident.

Records indicate that after he was released, Adamo, Boldin and the CSOs took the elevator back down while Ho used the stairs. During this time, “Boldin shook his head and stated that for the record he didn’t see anything, Adamo stated that for the record she did and that she attempted to stop it.”

The UP contacted Adamo, but she refused to comment.

“After the officer left she said that it was ridiculous and apologized. It was clear that she felt bad,” said the student.

During the investigation to this incident, Ho said:

“My intention in this incident was to educate [the student] to be honest when dealing with [an] authority figure and to modify his negative behaviors into a productive FAU student.”

According to his attorney, Richard Ansara, the student was never notified about Ho’s suspension.

“There wasn’t a follow-up. They never tried to do anything. It was like they brushed it under the carpet,” said the student.

Ansara said they may be filling legal action for the incident with officer Ho.

“It’s not just officer Ho to blame, there were other officers on the scene,” said Ansara. “The university needs to recognize it and they are going to make it right. If Jimmy wasn’t arrested he would still be working, still getting complaints, this would still be going on.”


Peer pressure

In Ho’s quarterly review from Jan. 1, 2010, to March 31, 2010, he received 2 out of 5 for “displaying professional integrity.”

“Corporal Ho is in a position where he must have the respect and trust of the FAU community and his contacts must be kept on a positive professional level,” according to the review conducted by Lieutenant Richard Friedman.

In February 2010, Lieutenant Larry Ervin sent Ho an email in response to complaints received from other employees.

“This and future violations of the Code of Conduct will not be acceptable,” wrote Ervin. “From unauthorized and unsolicited text messages to accusations of malfeasance or neglect of duty against some members, your reported actions have created an atmosphere of mistrust and fear among some members of this department.”

Officer Kevin Loughran made a complaint on Aug. 28, 2010, to his supervisors about being bullied by Ho. Loughran was the dispatcher on duty the night Ho made the student lick up spit. He had to write a statement about the incident and said Ho never treated him the same again.

Because of the incident, Ho didn’t want to train Loughran, but was forced to anyway. ” … He even mentioned something to me while I was riding with him about the case, which not only made me feel extremely awkward, but was inappropriate.”

Ho told him to do his time at the department and leave.

In a letter to his supervisor Frank Weber, CSO Milton Smith detailed an incident that occurred when he was on patrol. He saw students smoking pot and made the call over the phone to dispatch instead of over the radio. After the incident, Ho would refer to the students as “his buddies,” which made Smith feel like he was being accused of smoking pot.

“I also felt that Cpl. Ho doesn’t think I can perform my job and needs to spy on me in a way to get me in trouble.”

CSO Chelsea Dremann made a complaint to Major Sean Brammer about incidents that happened from summer 2009 till January 2010 in which Ho would send her text messages and ask her on dates.

“About 5 or 6 times CPL Ho had texted me as soon as I got to shift and ask me to meet him somewhere. CPL Ho has also told me he is “not attracted to his race” and at one time had even told me that he was attracted to women with my skin complexion and hair color.”

The UP tried to contact Dremann, but she refused to comment.

On March 16, Ho met with Paula Behul, director of equal opportunity, to discuss anti-discrimination and anti-harassment. He explained that he was “mentoring relationship with both male and female students on campus”

and viewed them the same way he did his kids. He claimed he never asked a student on a date, but “some students came on to him.”

He admitted to texting students outside FAU and “admitted he used bad judgment in his decision to text back and forth to 20-year-olds.” According to records, he agreed the texting would stop, and he was a man of his word.

An FAU employee whose name was disclosed in an email to Major Sean Brammer said Ho made unprofessional comments over the two and a half years she worked at FAU.

In 2007 she and another resident assistant were decorating the Heritage Park Towers for Halloween when Ho came in and said, “I like what I see.” She shrugged the comment off and instead said, “Oh yes, the decorations, they are nice, aren’t they.”

“I was very uncomfortable with the fact that the Corporal was obviously watching the cameras long enough to see what events were occurring in the office,” she wrote in the complaint. “I found it strange that Corporal Ho would just have a way of appearing when I was making my way to and from campus, as if my whereabouts were being tracked.”

In another incident, Ho made a complaint about another dispatcher whose name was unavailable.

In the complaint, he wrote about being dispatched to a wrong location. The unnamed dispatcher said it was an honest mistake because the caller had a heavy accent, “not an act of laziness that Corporal Ho would like to insinuate.”

“It is obvious Corporal Ho has been having continuous employment issues within the department that he has been setting his sights on others in an attempt to thwart the attention away from him,” the dispatcher wrote. “It is clear corporal Ho has been compiling this documentation of every detail of my shift in retaliation for declining his offers of taking me to lunch or staying in his home.”


Taking care of business

According to Lowe, any complaint against an officer is investigated. Depending on the severity of the accusation, the investigation could be as simple as having discussions with the officer, witnesses and the person filing the complaint, or could go as far as an internal affairs investigation.

It’s not set in stone where a set amount of times an officer can be written up will determine certain disciplinary actions or termination. Different things come into play, and each incident is based on different circumstances, how long the officer has been on the force and the length of time it happened.

Lowe explained that with this economy it’s easier to hire officers — but FAU might not be getting the cream of the crop.

“The truth of the matter is we pay less than our competing agencies. That always plays into hiring. Here on this campus we had some better luck in the last couple years,” said Lowe.

When FAU discovered its employee was arrested for shooting an escort, Lowe brought people into the station to offer them crisis management as support.

“The department as a whole took it very hard. In some ways we are a large department, but other ways we are not big enough were everyone doesn’t know everybody.”

Both positive and “nasty negative” things were said to officers and people who work at the department when news broke about Ho.

After Ho’s arrest, Lowe said he doesn’t know how the FAU community feels about the police department, whether or not people feel less trusting of the department.

“I think we invested a lot of effort over the last couple years of reaching out to our community, of being more involved, engaging people. I think that helped a lot, but human nature is what it is,” said Lowe. “I’m sure there are people who were affected that hurt their perception, but I don’t think the final chapter has been written. We need to see what happens over time.”

So, what is FAU doing to make sure there isn’t another Ho?

“There is a certain amount of change that naturally comes after something like this. We have been going back and reviewing things like hiring practices and looking at standards of conduct,” said Lowe. “But since I got here that has been an ongoing process anyway. It gives kind of a different viewpoint than one you would have had when you are looking at these things in the past. Nobody has been through anything like this before.”

The FAU community still doesn’t know exactly how Ho got hired in the first place. Ho could have been the one bad egg in the department, but Lowe doesn’t want this incident to leave a bad perception of everyone else in the department.

“We want to be more than people who enforce the law. We want to be a part of the community, to make other contributions, to help people. This incident really cast such a harsh light and it’s unfair to taint every individual in the same light,” said Lowe. “We have really good folks here who could go elsewhere and make more money. They are here because they like it here. They like where they work. They like the people they work with and this hurts that for them. I don’t know any other way to put that without diving off into things I shouldn’t comment on.”

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  • C

    Clinton CimringApr 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I’m glad this information about Officer Ho was finally released. I wish there could have been more of a news story about this. Please feel free to contact me for more.
    -Clinton Cimring