WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County Sheriff community policing expert Sgt. Jimmy Hightower was ordered to desk duty yesterday after a judge approved his wife’s request for a restraining order.
It’s yet another Gossip Extra exclusive: Hightower was re-assigned because the restraining order, until it’s lifted, makes it illegal for him to pack a gun and mandates that he stay away from his spouse.
According to court records, PBSO civilian employee Kristina Hightower was granted the restraining order after what she claims were several violent incidents. A court hearing is scheduled for June 11.
According to Kristina’s filing, Hightower’s been drinking heavily. It lead to an incident May 28 in which he allegedly elbowed her while she tried to protect their young son from Hightower’s anger over his brushing his teeth.
Jimmy Hightower, meanwhile, is infamous at PBSO for his beatdown of a subordinate during a deer hunt in Tennessee at a time when he’d become the agency’s poster boy for a more gentle community enforcement.
Two years ago, Hightower pleaded guilty to sucker-punching Deputy Jim Mackey near Knoxville and was handed a two-day suspension by PBSO.
The length of the suspension was controversial among the troops since Internal Affairs had asked for five days and a demotion.
According to the IA report of that incident, Hightower, Mackey, fellow deputy John DeLaura and two others were driving on a dark country road after a hunting expedition Dec. 5, 2011 when they spotted a deer.
According to the report Hightower, who had been drinking and was on the passenger’s seat, grabbed his rifle and told Mackey, the sober designated driver, to stop the SUV. Mackey refused because shooting deer from a vehicle is illegal in most states.
Hightower became irate, according to the paperwork, and took to arguing with Mackey who, at the time, was his direct subordinate.
Mackey eventually stopped the car and started walking to their hotel. That’s when Hightower sprinted to Mackey and slugged him at least twice. Mackey reported seeing stars and sustained a deep cut to his mouth. Their companions eventually peeled Hightower off Mackey.
As he bled profusely, the three sheriff’s employees then openly discussed lying about the incident to protect Hightower, according to the IA report. And Mackey alleged told hospital personnel in Tennessee who stitched him up that he fell in his hotel room.