Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Ian Murray. Ian is here to share his story about a challenging experience that he faced while juggling his commitments as a reservist alongside his civilian job. Uh, which led him to being wrongfully arrested. Uh, it’s a story that’s particularly, particularly important to hear if you’re in the reserves or National Guard.
Uh, but even if you’re in active duty, uh, service member, uh, you may be interested in the future in, uh, being a reservist, uh, National Guard, uh, you know, somewhere along those lines, and, uh, you should. Be interested in this story, um, if you ever intend to join the ranks of the Reserves or National Guard, because this is a story of, uh, you know, something that could happen, uh, down the line, hopefully not, but it could happen down the line and, and you should be aware of, uh, potential, uh, issues that may come up.
So, uh, before we get into the, the story and, uh, everything else, uh, first I want to welcome you to the [00:01:00] show, Ian. I’m glad to have you here. Thank you. Yeah. So for the listeners who maybe don’t know your story, um, and, and kind of who you are, can you give us a little bit of your background and, and tell us about yourself?
Ian Murray: sure. Well, um, I’ve been in the military for about 20 years now, uh, Guard and Reserve Components. I originally joined in 2002. I’m still in, um, as Staff Sergeant in the U. S. Army Reserves. Uh, in 2009, I got hired on as a corrections officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida.
And, um, so obviously they knew I was in the Guard and Reserve Components, uh, when I was hired. Uh, I don’t know what it was with that department, but there always seemed to be issues with my military service coinciding with my civilian job, even though I was very communicative, uh, Communicative, uh, with my duties and all that, providing documents and whatnot.
Um, but, uh, the worst [00:02:00] of it came was in, I think it was in 2014. I had a Lieutenant who we found out later had a very strong dislike for me for unknown reasons, file a false complaint against me, alleging that I was misusing my military leave and, um. The, I guess the tipping point for her filing the complaint was she approached me one day and was auditing my military leave and there was a day I had orders, but didn’t actually have to report in for duty, which is not abnormal when you’re in the military, when you’re on duty, you’re not in every day.
It’s like any other job. There’s days you don’t have to report in. And, um, she ordered me to change the day from a personal or from a military day to a personal day, I thought that was kind of strange cause I’d never had to do that before, even when situations like that had happened in previous jobs, I went to my military unit, talked to some other people in the Sheriff’s office and they’re like, yeah, if she’s ordering you to do it, you should do it cause she can have you written up for insubordination if you don’t.
So I did. Um, she denied [00:03:00] the request she told me to make. And I found out that, um, about a week later through my military command that she’d. filed the false complaint against me. Uh, the investigation, if you want to call it that, went on for about four months. Uh, one of the detectives called me. I was very clear with my military orders.
I told him, this is where they are. I have them. If you can’t find them, let me know. I’ll bring them to you. Blah, blah, blah. Never heard back from him after that. A month later, I was about to go on a, uh, I think it was about a three, three or four month, uh, temporary duty training assignment. And the Friday before I was supposed to leave, I was sitting in my house, which is, uh, in the next town up from Jacksonville and four individuals from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office showed up at my house, came in through my garage door and, um, placed me under arrest.
I thought it was a joke at first. Um, but when they actually took me down to their little substation area and showed me the booking docket, I [00:04:00] knew this was, I’m like, how is this happening? Um, they started asking me all these questions. They brought out some stuff, you know, paperwork. They said, where were you on this day?
Where are you on that day? I said, well, what did my orders say? And it was became plain painfully clear that they never did any kind of formal investigation. They just, um, probably found out I was about to leave and they didn’t want to lose their authority. So they took action without, um, having done their job.
Scott DeLuzio: Well, I want to, I want to get a little bit more into, uh, this investigation, uh, in just a minute. I want to take a quick commercial break though before we do. So, uh, for the listeners, stay tuned and we’ll get more into this investigation in just a minute. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. Um, before the break, we were talking a little bit about the investigation, uh, that led to, uh, the arrest of our guest here, Ian Murray, um, and, and everything that went into that.
Um, Ian, can you, you started doing this before the break, but can you walk us through the events that kind of led up to the arrest and the [00:05:00] subsequent investigation that, that took place, uh, into, Thank you. The alleged misuse of your military, uh, training time. Um, it seems like there’s a lot going on with that situation.
Um, you know, it seems like they’re, you know, maybe, uh, uh, you know, Lieutenant with a chip on their shoulder and, you know, other things that, that might be going on. I’m not sure exactly what the details are, but tell us, you know, from your point of view, what, what you experienced.
Ian Murray: Well, like I said, when the investigation got started, um, I really had no idea what to do.
Um, this was really bizarre. I mean, I, I felt kind of stabbed in the back by my lieutenant, you know, like, you know, being in the military, you expect your leadership to look out for you and mentor you and point you in the right direction. She clearly didn’t do that. Um, she’d done this similar thing to other officers I’d worked with too, unfortunately, I don’t know what her gripe was, but, uh, anyway, so when the investigation started, um, you know, I talked to, um, a few people, I talked to [00:06:00] my military unit, they were not happy about it.
And they said, well, you know, you have orders for all your time. So if these investigators do their job, we’ll, you know, you’ll be cleared and they’ll, you know, hopefully just let it go and you’ll be back to work. No trouble. Um, I talked to, um, a representative of my union. Um, I didn’t really know who to talk to again.
So I just kind of made a call and said, Hey, what should I do about this? Should I get a lawyer? Blah, blah. And they even said, yeah, that’s not really necessary. If your military leave is on file. Um, even if you change the day on her order or direction. You know, there’s nothing wrong with that. You didn’t break any laws or commit any crimes or violate any policies.
So. You know, they’ll, they’ll, um, go to the records department, get your orders, and this should all be cleared up in about a week. So I was never worried. Um, when the detective called me, I, I again, told him that I said, yeah, all my orders are on file. If you need anything, I can email it, or I can even bring it down to your office if you need me to.
I was trying to be as cooperative as I could. Um, [00:07:00] when, when I got done with the conversation with him, that was the last I heard of it. Um, about a month later, I, I’d assumed had been dropped. I got orders to go out of state on a training TDY, temporary duty assignment. And as I mentioned before, um, I was supposed to leave, I think it was on a Sunday afternoon, that Friday afternoon, I’m sitting in my living room, packing my stuff, and, uh, four detectives, um, from the sheriff’s office were in my garage, I opened the door, and one of them grabbed me and handcuffed me, and said, we have a warrant for your arrest, again, I thought it was a joke.
Right. Um, I’m like, I’m like, alright, who put you guys up to this, really? And they’re like, yeah, we’re not kidding. So they took me down to their substation, started asking me all these questions. Where were you on this date? Where were you on that date? And I said, well, what did my order say? There were other days they were questioning me about where I wasn’t at drill, but I had military obligations.
I switched from the guard to the reserves and I had to go to the MEPS station. I’m not sure if you know what that is,
Scott DeLuzio: but yeah, I mean, I, I do for, but for [00:08:00] the listeners who might not be familiar with it, um, feel free to, you know, kind of explain what that is and what that process was like for you. Sure.
Ian Murray: Um, MEPS is, um, I forget the actual acronym name, but it’s basically when you join the military.
It’s like a, um, I think it’s like military entry processing where they take you to this facility and they do all these medical tests on you, make sure that you’re medically able to go in the military and they go over your background and things like that. So I had to do that because I went from one component to another, which again, I had orders for, um, this had been a while back, like year, well over a year, I think, before this whole thing happened.
So I turned in the orders for that. Um, they were using the excuse. Well, you weren’t a drill. Where were you at? And I’m like, well, what did my order say? And again, it just was painfully clear, you know, after about 20 minutes of talking to these people, they had not done their job. They hadn’t even gone and done the basic parts of their investigation.
The first thing [00:09:00] they should have done. And, um, you know, I was halfway after I explained this to him, I was expecting him to let me leave, but they didn’t. They took me to jail. They booked me. And then they went to the news media in Jacksonville and sold them a false narrative. That I didn’t have orders and that I was being arrested for grand theft and they ran it all over the 5 and 6 o’clock news.
It made page 2 in the Florida Times Union. Um, they publicly humiliated me for nothing. Um, so, of course the next, um, I think it was on Monday, the union lawyer I’d spoken to called me and was eager to have me hire him to represent me. But, it was pretty clear that he was trying to cover it up for the Sheriff’s Office.
Um, I went and hired a private attorney. And when I did that, probably within a week of hiring that private attorney, they did more investigating that whole, within that week than they did the whole four months prior. Um, they went to my army unit, they threatened members of my army command saying if they didn’t [00:10:00] cooperate with them, they’d put them in jail too.
Um, you know, it, it was a mess. Um, you know, and they basically went up against the army and, you know, army actually, the, They backed me up. Of course, you know, that was one thing I, my chain of command, they stood behind me. They, yeah, we know we didn’t do anything wrong. You know, they were very upset because they disrupted my training events and it got into their funding.
You know, it was just a real big, you know, it was a mess. I mean, that’s, there’s really no other way to say it.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. And when you have that many, um, that many People looking into the situation, uh, you would think that one of them would stand up and be like, wait a minute, all of this checks out. They look at all the paperwork, all your, your orders and everything like that.
And, and compare it to dates that are, you know, on record of your requests for time off and all that kind of stuff. You’d be like, okay, this checks out. And even though you weren’t at. At drill training, um, you know, for the listeners who might not be familiar with that, that’s a, you know, for the reserves and national guard, that’s a, the one week in a month, the [00:11:00] two weeks a year when you’re off on, on the, those training, um, things you, you get that time off from, uh, your, your employer, you’re, you’re supposed to, um, and, uh, you know, if you’re not doing that, they still can give you orders for other things.
And it could be a lot. Yeah, it could, exactly. It could be things like you said, going to MEPS, uh, for transferring from, you know, one component to the other, or it could be, you know, a, a state emergency and you get called up on orders to do that type of thing too. Your responsibility is now with you. the military and you have to go and do those things.
Um, whether you’re your boss at your civilian job likes it or not, like that’s kind of the, that’s kind of the deal that they have to, they kind of have to deal with it.
Ian Murray: Yeah. And like I said, I was, I mean, this is a police department. We had a lot of military reservists in that department. I don’t know how this.
Um, but again, this [00:12:00] was not the first time I’d had problems with my military leave. Um, I don’t know what the disdain was. There would just seem to be a lot of people in that Sheriff’s office who did not like the idea of people having to go off and do their second duty. And I think there was another issue was, you know, as part of the benefits package, um, they gave us paid military leave.
They basically gave us like extra paid time off to go do it. And I think that was a sticking point for some of my super, we had, there was one supervisor who was involved in this case was one of my sergeants. And he constantly was making, um, just. you know, foul remarks about people in the reserves, us getting paid for doing our duty.
There was other people in the sheriff’s office that were getting paid to go to school that the sheriff’s office was giving leave to, and it’s like he just had this negative opinion of anybody who had, who was getting time off. And still getting paid. Right. I don’t know why, but it just, it’s unfortunate.
And, um, yeah, I really don’t understand [00:13:00] what the problem was, but I did, I dealt with it the best I could. I showed up, I did my job and I’d go to drill and do what I had to do for the military. I was trying my best to manage both my careers and. I, there was just people there that I guess couldn’t handle that, or, you know, how to dislike for me and one day you abuse that to try and get me in trouble for some reason, but yeah, anyway, um, getting back.
Scott DeLuzio: would think though, like, like if I’m in that, that position and. I see somebody has this opportunity to go do their, their training in the reserves, National Guard, whatever. And they’re getting paid. I’d be like, okay, well, good for you, man. Like you, you figure it out. Like there’s this benefit out there and you’re taking advantage of it.
And I don’t mean it taking advantage in a bad way, but it’s like, it’s a benefit that’s there. Um, it’s one of the perks of the job and you’re using it. So good for you. Like you’re, you’re actually
Ian Murray: smart. Yeah. When I was hired actually too, like they even told me during my board interview, they’re like, Oh yeah, we give you paid military [00:14:00] leave.
So yeah, take your military leave and you know, do what you need to do for your, your duty. You know that there was people when I was hired that were encouraging me, but unfortunately those were like, that was senior leadership. Um, my problems were with lower and mid level leadership, unfortunately, which, which can happen sometimes in a paramilitary organization, um, like that.
So, um, but yeah, it went on for, you know, after my arrest, um, the state attorney, like looked at this and they, um. They gave the sheriff’s office another, golly, it was almost like two months to try and, you know, save face. And they just got to the point, like, look, we can’t prosecute this guy. He didn’t do anything wrong.
Um, my lawyers told me he didn’t even do paperwork for the case. Like he never even prepared charging documents. So I was never even like charged with an actual crime. I was arrested, but never actually charged with a. any kind of, um, offense or anything like that. So that was dropped. And, um, while the criminal case was still going on, I have a top secret security [00:15:00] clearance.
Um, the organization that does security clearance audits came in and they even asked my first sergeant, when they looked at this thing, is that they’re like, is this a joke? Like this really happened to this guy? And, um, My first sergeant’s like, I’m afraid so. And, um, they gave me my top secret clearance back before the criminal charges were even officially dropped.
So, I mean, that just shows you how flaky this whole thing was from the get go. Um, but yeah, it was a mess and it continued on for like another year and a half through administrative investigations, which I’ll talk about too, if you’d like.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I mean, this, this is, I think it’s a good point maybe to, uh, uh, cut to, uh, another quick commercial break here, but before we get to that break, um, just, just kind of recapping for, for the audience here.
So we, we have, uh, a soldier who is, you know, part time soldier, like Reserves National Guard. Uh, you go in one week in a month, two weeks a year. You may have extra schools and other duties like that, that you may have to go through. [00:16:00] Um, and you have a civilian job as well. So you’re, you’re really working two jobs.
You have, you know, responsibilities in two different areas. And when. Those two conflict when you, you have, uh, you know, those schedules that, that come up, um, the military is going to take precedence. It’s just the way, the way it is. And every employer has to, has to just do it, deal with that because like you said, it’s the law, um, you, you have to deal with that.
So, um, you know, when you have somebody who is clearly abusing it, uh, then yeah, there, there could be some problems, but in this case, there’s no. Abuse of, of the system. And so, um, you know, I don’t know, uh, where this all came from, but it seems like a pretty bizarre story, but we’ll, we’ll, uh, get more into this in just a minute, we’re going to cut to a quick commercial break, so stay tuned, everybody.
Welcome back to drive on, uh, Ian. I got to imagine going through an ordeal like this that we were just talking about where you’re getting [00:17:00] arrested for really nothing, doing nothing wrong. Um, but going through an ordeal like this must have taken a toll on your personal life. Uh, can you share with us how it affected you, your family, you know, emotionally, financially, all of that kind of stuff?
Ian Murray: Yeah. I mean, um, I was married at the time. Um, it was definitely trying on my marriage to say the least. Um, I was put on administrative leave without pay. Um, so, um, fortunately I, I mean, I had some savings, but you know, that went, we went through that pretty quick. I ended up having to sell my car, uh, my military unit and their efforts to support me.
They put me on some extra duty days. to do administrative work at our unit and stuff to kind of help me out, which was a big, big help. My family helped me, my mom, my stepdad chipped in a little bit. They actually posted my cash bail for me when I was arrested. It was a 1, 500. Um, yeah, it just, um, with having my, I couldn’t go on my training mission that I was supposed to [00:18:00] go on, um, yeah, it just, like, people, people that knew me that live in Jacksonville were calling me, like, they couldn’t believe it either, like, dude, were you arrested the other day?
I’m like, yeah, because they heard about it on the news and on the radio, and, um, yeah, it was just unbelievable, um, so, yeah, I mean, and it went on, this whole thing, like I said, went on for a long time, um, After the initial investigation, when the prosecutor dropped the, um, charges, or like, like I said, I don’t think I was even charged when he opted not to charge me, it would probably be a.
More fair statement, but, uh, the sheriff’s office turned it over to, uh, administrative investigation to try and basically dig up something I’d saying I could have done something administratively wrong to try and save face, you know, for the guys that falsely arrested me. Um, first thing my lawyer did when that happened was he sent the whole case file over to the, uh, I think it was like the city manager or something like that.
And explain the situation. We got a letter back and that letter [00:19:00] clearly stated that I did nothing wrong. I violated no policies, broke no rules within the Sheriff’s Office or with the city or anything. So, we’re like, cool. Um, that did not stop them. We found out that the, um, investigator that they were using, um, through Internal Affairs was also in the military.
He was, um, Air Force Reserves or Air Force Guard or something. At first, I was relieved. I thought, oh, finally, somebody who knows what I have to deal with. Uh, boy, I was wrong. Uh, we found out that this guy, uh, my unit called me again and said, Um, hey, um, this guy that they’re using to investigate you in the Sheriff’s office, he’s going around flashing his military credentials and identifying himself as a military investigator and not a member of the Sheriff’s office, uh, to try and trick people into giving information.
Um, he, um, called me one day. Outside my lawyers, he, um, called me one day and demanded I come in and talk to him. I’m like, look, you need to call my lawyers. I’m not supposed to talk to you guys without, and you know, he was just very [00:20:00] demanding. Um, I don’t know what his deal was, but, um, you know, I told him I’m not going to acknowledge any calls unless you go through my lawyer.
That’s why I have him. Uh, we did go in and eventually talk to him. Uh, the things he asked me were just completely off the wall. He basically wanted me to rationalize the actions of everyone else involved in that weekend that I was… It all boiled down to one day. It was the one day my lieutenant ordered me to switch my day from a…
military to a personal day. He basically wanted me to like explain why my supervisors would have done that or, or, you know, what they were doing and why they might not. It’s like you’re talking to the wrong person at that point. Yeah. I even told him, I’m like, you need to go talk to them. This, I have no idea why you’re asking me this.
And so that interview was done. And then, um, I actually got orders to go out to do my training assignment that I was supposed to do the year before while I was out there. Uh, that investigation concluded, [00:21:00] my lawyer called me and said, yeah, he wants us to come in and talk and, um, you know, I know you’re out and doing your military stuff.
And he’s like, what should I tell him? I said, well, tell him I’m on military, you know, I’m on active duty orders. I can’t talk to him until I get back. He should know that. My lawyer told this guy that he threw a massive conviction fit over the phone, this detective did, was like, how’s he on military orders?
He’s not supposed to be on orders. And, um, he demanded a copy of my orders, which my lawyer furnished him with. The next day, the school facility I was in got a phone call. From someone, again, identifying themself as an investigator for the military just to let them know that I had a felony arrest on my record, even though that had been completely disposed of, but he was trying to get me kicked out of my training environment, um, and, um, yeah, even, um, I mean, I’m, I mean, we couldn’t believe it.
Even the schoolhouse was like, what is going on over there? We’re like, what, like, what, what happened with you? I’m [00:22:00] like, so I had to tell him kind of the whole story and, you know, You know, they, they called and they’re like, yeah, we, we checked. Your clearance is still good. We talked to your unit, you know, so you’re fine.
So unfortunately I did have to come home from the training. I had a death in the family. My grandfather passed away. And, um, so I ended up, um, coming back, uh, from that early and we went in to find out what they had to say about the investigation, they still tried to sustain allegations out against me, even after all this happening and.
Um, they were trying to have me fired and, um, my lawyer’s like, well, actually I’m inclined to let them fire you because then we can go after him for wrongful termination on everything else. So, um, yeah, we went, you know, basically, you know, we said, yeah, I’m not going to go along with this. So we decided to have a, um, a civil service hearing to basically just because we knew that would take it beyond the sheriff’s office.
It would actually put it in front of a room of objective, you know, of people who weren’t going to be [00:23:00] objective and, um, would actually listen to what we had to say. And, um, I was like about, they kept pushing it back, pushing it back. And then finally my lawyers got the, uh, administrative hearing locked in or the civil service hearing.
I’m sorry. And, uh, about a week before the civil service hearing, uh, my lawyer called and said, Hey, the undersheriff, uh, his name’s Pat Ivy. I don’t know what his position is now, but, um, wants to, uh, wants to have a meeting to what he said, potentially resolve this whole thing at first. I was like, no, I’m done with this.
I just want to get this over. Let’s go have the civil service hearing. My lawyer convinced me to go meet with him just because we, that way we could say we did everything we could to try and resolve this before it actually going to another setting. Sure. So we go to the undersheriff’s office and we sit down and just from the very beginning, he had a bullying attitude.
He, I think his idea was, you know, I’m the undersheriff. You’re going to do what I tell you to do. Um, he was basically trying to take, [00:24:00] get me to take some kind of a, an agreement where I would agree to an infraction in lieu of a suspension. And I’m like, no, I’m not doing that. I did nothing wrong. I’ve got documents saying, and this is after my lawyer’s telling them that we had depositions of his detective falsely identifying himself and everything else.
He would not let it go. So, um, I would not agree to his deal. Um, and, um, you know, he ended up throwing me out of his office just because I think he got so frustrated with me that I wouldn’t bow down to his authority or whatever. Right. And, um, so we left and my lawyers are like, okay, yeah, we’ll still have the hearing.
Two days later, they, uh, get a call from the city attorney saying they’re willing to give me all my back pay that I’d been missed out on, you know, from being on administrative leave. And if I just agree to the charges, I said, no, I’m not agreeing to any charges. I don’t care how much money you give me.
Right. And then a harassment campaign began at the behest of the undersheriff. [00:25:00] Uh, he started sending people to my house. Um, watching my house, making phone calls. Again, my lawyers were not included in any of these phone calls or letters or anything. Uh, he sent someone to my house when I wasn’t there. My wife almost, my wife actually felt compelled to arm herself because this guy was apparently kicking on my front door.
And when my neighbor came to the fence line, the guy saw my neighbor and turned around and left. My neighbor described it as a Large male individual wearing a JSO polo shirt driving an unmarked white sedan, um, and then the night before the hearing, literally, um, they said, okay, we’ll, if he’ll just walk away, we’ll drop everything and give his back pay.
No, no, no disciplinary allegations or nothing. So, um, that was the end result we wanted anyway, so we agreed to that and that was the end of the, um, investigation or, you know, pretty much the end of the whole thing. And then, um, we ended up, I ended up going to, uh, Afghanistan at the end of 2016. [00:26:00] Uh, I came home, unfortunately, I went through a divorce in 2018 and then my lawyer began a, um, a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s office, which we just settled in December of last year.
Scott DeLuzio: So, I mean, that, that’s, uh, you know, obviously unfortunate situation, right? Going, you know, I, I gotta imagine a lot of this probably led up to the, uh, the divorce situation that you, you went through, um, you know, and then having to go in. Have that, that lawsuit going on. Like you don’t want that to happen.
Like when you have an employer employee relationship, you want it to be mutually beneficial, right? The employee is providing a service or, or some sort of set of skills or something, and the employer is providing the, the financial incentive to. Provide those, those sets of skills and you want it to be mutually beneficial.
If you want both of them to come out ahead, [00:27:00] uh, with, with that, but you don’t want them to be butting heads and going after each other the whole time. Like that, that just becomes a toxic, toxic place to work. You don’t. You don’t want to make that person or that organization come out ahead if you’re, you’re working for them.
Uh, quite frankly, you don’t really, you start to just not care about them at all at that point, you know, and that’s not the best place, uh, to be as far as a, you know, an employment situation goes,
Ian Murray: right? Correct. Yeah. And that’s, you know, I, I came from two States to work for that department. The, the, the big attraction to the Sheriff’s office was at the time they had a great retirement plan.
Um, they had a 20 year. retirement where you do 20 years and at the end you can retire. And I think it’s get like between 50 and 60% of your paycheck for the rest of your life, you know? And if I had been able to finish that, like I’d be retiring here in about six or seven years. You know, I was, that was the big thing.
I. I came to work, I did my job. That’s all I wanted was my paycheck and the benefits [00:28:00] that go with it. Like everybody else was getting, I wasn’t trying to get anything else that nobody else was, um, getting or entitled to. I just wanted the same thing as that everyone else was getting working there.
Scott DeLuzio: And I think that’s, that’s a, the key part there is you weren’t taking any special treatment or anything with this.
You were, you were. Looking at, okay, here’s one of the, the perks of the job is you get a paid military leave. Okay, cool. I’m in the military. So this kind of makes sense. Like, why wouldn’t you take a job that, that offered that versus some other job that wouldn’t give you a paid military leave? Because they don’t all always have to.
No, they don’t. And, and it’s, it’s a perk of the job. Uh, they’re the ones who came up with this perk. It’s not like you twisted their arm and forced them to come up with this. So to me, it’s like, why is this even an issue? You know, but, um, clearly it is, but I want to get more into this, this issue. And, um, you know, maybe provide some advice or feedback for, for other people who might be finding themselves in similar [00:29:00] situations after the break.
So stay tuned. Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. We’ve been talking to Ian Murray about his ordeal, uh, dealing with his employer, uh, as a, uh, reservist. needing to get time off for his military duties and, uh, having these issues where, uh, ultimately he ended up getting arrested, uh, wrongfully arrested for, uh, allegedly misusing his, his military leave, um, Ian, do you think that this experience in, in, in your experience, uh, talking to other people or, you know, Maybe doing research on, on the situation yourself.
Uh, do you think that this experience is a one off occurrence or have you come across other reservists or National Guard members who maybe have faced similar challenges or mistreatment?
Ian Murray: Well, it was told to me during the administrative part of the investigation. I got a phone call. from someone in the union, they were encouraging me to take a deal.
And I told him like, Oh, I’m [00:30:00] not taking a deal. Um, they did, that person did tell me that the sheriff’s office has done this to people before and gotten away with it. And like he actually said, he was happy that I was fighting back so hard because it was at least making them think, you know, it’ll make them think before they do this again.
And from what I understand, there has been policy revisions. to how they do these type of investigations based off my incident.
Scott DeLuzio: And that’s, that’s a good thing that there, the policy has been updated, revised, and hopefully improved because you can always revise something in the wrong direction, but, um, hopefully, hopefully everything’s been improved.
Um, so this has happened in, in this department before. I wonder, you know, is this a widespread occurrence? Like if you look at the, the entirety of the reserve and. components. Um, you know, is this something that happens you think more often than, than we know about?
Ian Murray: I don’t know. I mean, [00:31:00] I, like I said, I, I’ve never really looked into how many other people were arrested for.
This kind of thing. I mean, like I said, this whole thing was so easy to clear up from the get go. This, I mean, like everyone involved said this should have been resolved in the first day. Right. The detectives should have gone to the records office, gotten your orders, seeing that you had orders for every day you took off against your leave.
And that should have been the end of it right then and there. Um, how that did not happen. I don’t know. Um, part of me, again, this is. But part of me thinks they maybe did it on purpose, um, they, just because they were trying to somehow elevate themselves, um, within the sheriff’s office. A lot of the detectives I found out are, um, new to the detective field.
They’re like police officers that are coming off the street, trying to get their way up in the detective structure. So they’re basically, if they were to get an arrest, it would make them look good. Right. I also talked to one of the detectives who had been a… I think he said he was like a homicide or a [00:32:00] robbery detective for like 20 years and then somehow got, ended up being an internal, basically an internal investigator, which is not, that’s not in any way a promotion.
So maybe they were trying to get them, get their spot back where they were. Sure. I don’t know, but like this whole thing is just unbelievable. I mean, it’s, it’s just the whole thing. I don’t, I don’t know how it could happen. That’s why when it originally happened, I thought it was a joke. Yes. I just do not see how you can be that derelict in your duty.
Or be that inexperienced or untrained when you’re in a position like that, where you’re messing with people’s livelihoods and stuff, you know, people you work with in a sense, you know, we all work for the same agency. And it’s like they had no problem just trying to ruin my life to put a little bronze star on their chart or something like that.
Scott DeLuzio: And I think the reason why I was asking about like the, uh, how prevalent this experiences or, or the, these, uh, situations is because when, when you have, um, when, when you have [00:33:00] civilian employers who maybe aren’t very familiar with Reserves National Guard. duties, and maybe it’s a, you know, small mom and pop shop or something like that, that you might be working for.
Um, I can see how their HR policies may not be as robust as maybe a government organization, uh, you know, a sheriff’s office in this case, or, or corrections or, or other, um, you know, agencies like that. Uh, they. Gotta know what the rules are and all that, right? Um, so every other,
Ian Murray: yeah, every other, I apologize for interrupting, but every other job I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the reserves, I’ve never had problems with my military lead.
Even like you said, I’ve worked for little mom and pop businesses. And they’re like, you know, when I tell them, I’m like, I’ve got orders, like, okay, see you when you get back, you know, your job will be here waiting for you. They, they get it. Um, that’s a very basic thing that any employer, in my opinion, who hires military [00:34:00] reservists should know.
Um, like I said, I don’t know how this happened. And, um, I worked for a sheriff’s department in South Carolina that, um, I was in the reserves with then the guard with them and never had trouble problems like this, you know, and, uh, they. You know, it just blows my mind that, like you said, a governmental organization, a law enforcement agency to boot would do something like this.
Scott DeLuzio: even know what the law is in regards to having a, uh, service member. Uh, you know, they do now, yes, which, you know, I think is a, you know, maybe an expensive lesson for both you and them, but, um, You know, I was in the National Guard for about six years. I worked for various companies during that time on the civilian side, uh, anywhere from, you know, private smaller companies to, uh, you know, big corporations and none of them ever had any, any problem with me taking time off for, you know, [00:35:00] the, the weekend a month or two weeks a year.
Um. You know, on occasion, uh, you know, you, you get the, the, the jokes from the, from the coworkers or whatever, it’s like, Oh, you know, you’re going on vacation for two weeks or, you know, something like that, but, but it was never, it was always, you know, good natured, you know, it was never like a, you know, a malicious kind of thing.
Like they, they resented me for taking time off or anything like that. It’s like, Oh, you get to go, you know, relax and you know, the. You know, beachside resort or whatever. It’s like, no, I’m, I’m going to live in a foxhole in the woods for two weeks. So, you know, like it, it’s not going to be, be like that, but, but, you know, we, we, we would joke and we’d have fun about it, but, um, never, ever once did I ever have a problem with.
My military service, uh, and my civilian job, they always were more than happy to give me time off. As a matter of fact, one of my, uh, former bosses was, uh, he was in the air force. And, uh, you know, sometimes, uh, and I’m sure you’re familiar with this. Sometimes you’d have, you know, like Friday night, you’d have to report into your unit.
[00:36:00] Um, He’d give me time off in the afternoon on, on Friday, just to go, you know, take care of whatever I need to take care of before I had to, you know, go in and report in. And, um, you know, he was, he was really good about it. So, um, you know, when I hear about, uh, like a sheriff’s office who should definitely know the rules, it just, it honestly, when, when I first heard about your story, um, I was kind of like, eh, this sounds like bullshit, but then I started reading into it, and I’m like, holy crap, like, this is actually something that happened, you know, I read the news articles, I saw all the stuff, you can, you can Google it and find out, like, um, you know, all those articles are still out there, and, uh, yeah, this is something that actually happened.
Crap, I can’t believe it.
Ian Murray: And that’s another reason why I’m, I’m happy to do these stories, because… After this whole thing was over and we got the lawsuit settlement, I was hoping that the media that reported the false narrative would do a retraction. They won’t even respond to us. The local media outlets who, and you know, you hate using that term fake news, but [00:37:00] you, you can understand now why, because they completely ran a fake story and now they won’t even talk to me about it.
It’s like they don’t even want to acknowledge, you know, even though we’ve got boxes of documents and… You know, it’s sad because, you know, it’s like the media you expect when you watch the news a lot of that’s why I hate to say it the mainstream media there’s nobody trusts them anymore and I can understand after my situation as to why because, um, yeah, when I read those news articles, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you know, like they didn’t even do any supplemental reviewing or anything like that.
They just went solely off the whatever detective called them to leak the story. Um, told them and, you know, didn’t have any of the facts at hand or anything like that. It was really, really mind blowing.
Scott DeLuzio: You know, the, the perfect example of just how little faith or trust people have in the mainstream media these days is just not too long ago, just, uh, I don’t know, last week or the week before, uh, the time that we’re recording this.
So by the time this episode is released, [00:38:00] um, probably a month or so ago, um, they reported that in Congress someone was reporting that their… We’re aliens, that the government has alien, you know, vehicles and bodies of these aliens and no one gives a crap because they’re like, whatever, man, like, what, we don’t even, we don’t even believe it.
Like, so like we can, they could probably take the alien body and parade it across the television screen and people would be like, yeah, whatever, like, we don’t believe it, you know, and so. Yeah, that’s a perfect example of, of, of that right there. But, um, I wanted to ask you also based on this experience that you went through, do you have any advice or tips, uh, that you might want to give to current reservists or National Guard members to avoid getting themselves in a situation like the one that you found yourself in?
You know, any specific procedures that they should follow or forms that they should make sure are submitted or anything like that?
Ian Murray: Well, I mean, just keep, [00:39:00] keep your documents. If you get orders, hold on to them. Um, you know, I, I haven’t, I have a computer log email file of all my orders that I’ve had pretty much my entire, uh, most of my career at least ever since email has been a big thing.
If you get a supervisor that is showing these kind of symptoms, like, you know, constantly questioning your military leave, um, ask them why they’re doing it. And, um, if you feel like, you know, there’s malicious intent, uh, I would go to their, you know, go up your chain of command or consult. If you’re a, um, if you’re a unionized department, talk to someone within your union about it to make sure that you’re fully aware of all the, um, rules and things that are like in the employment contract and stuff.
And, um, if. If something, if you get put under an investigation, um, especially if you work for JSO, hire a real lawyer. Don’t, um, don’t trust the union lawyer. I did that. And obviously they, we, I found out real quick, they were not there to help me. They, when the whole [00:40:00] thing blew up, even though they told me I did nothing wrong and this and that, it was painfully obvious.
They were just there to work for the sheriff’s office and try and help cover the whole thing up. Um, so yeah, if you, if you get a criminal complaint, um, get a real lawyer, hire a private attorney or something like that. Or. Um, also talk to your military command because there are attorneys that the unit, uh, the unit will represent you in some cases too.
So, yeah, I mean, like I said, I never saw this coming from a mile away. I mean, it just seems so blatantly obvious to resolve this whole thing. I never thought I would have, you know, if I had known it was going to blow up like this, I would have done all that myself, but I never… This was just so, like I said earlier, so easy to resolve from day one.
And I never thought it would go this far. Um, I don’t even think the Lieutenant who filed the complaint against me thought it was going to go this far. Cause like when the, you know, when they called her in months later for the second part of the investigation with some of my friends at work, they’re like, Oh yeah, she’s like, you know, his stuff’s still going [00:41:00] on even after all this time.
I think she was just trying to put a little bit of a fly in my ointment to make my life a little miserable. I don’t even think she expected them to actually take the action they did. But. But yeah, I like, um, just, you know, like I said, dot your I’s, cross your T’s, keep your documents, um, again, you know, just, um, watch your back, you know, it’s, and, um, you know, if something like this, you know, just be communicative and, um, utilize your chain of command if you have to.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And like you said, keep those documents, whether they’re electronic documents or physical paper copies, if you, if you have a paper copy of it. Uh, of, of your, your, uh, orders, scan them into your computer, you know, get those electronic copies, have multiple backup copies of it someplace. So that way, should you lose a paper or, you know, your house catches a fire or something like that, have like cloud storage, you have it in multiple places.
So you don’t end up losing this stuff should something ever come up. Right.
Ian Murray: [00:42:00] Yeah, email is the safest bet. Like I said, I email all my stuff. Cause you know, even if heaven forbid your computer breaks, you can always log into your email account and get them out of that. And, um, but yeah, like I said, um, like after this whole thing happened, you know, I of course gave him my drill calendar and then like for the MEPS part, I went to the recruiter’s office I’d been to that Monday morning and said, Hey, can you give me the memo for when I went to MEPS?
He’s like, yeah, here you get print. And I gave it to my lawyer and he gave it to the state attorney and the detectives. It was that easy. And it was already on file with the sheriff’s office to begin with, you know, and, um, it’s just like this whole thing. I just, like I said, it just blows my mind how something like this could happen, you know, and.
In the end, um, my lawyer, when he deposed the detective that falsely arrested me, his defense was he basically played dumb. He’s like, Oh, I thought I’d done my job to, you know, the best of my ability. And even though I had to, even though I blatantly told him how to do his job and where he could find all this stuff, you know, that was their end defense.
And just to play stupid, [00:43:00] you know, that way they could, I guess, argue that they weren’t maliciously trying to do anything. I mean, the whole thing was just really unbelievable, but,
Scott DeLuzio: um, Unbelievable story. Absolutely. Um,
Ian Murray: yeah, I mean, I’m, I’m glad it’s. You know, it’s over now. I can move on. And, you know, I am anxious for my name to get cleared publicly because I do have people still asking me about it.
Like when my clearance comes up for renewal, people Google my name and they say, Hey, what’s up with this? And I have to explain what happened. So, you know, I am glad to do these kind of things because it does, um, it gives me a chance to get my side out. Because obviously the people who falsely reported it, they don’t want to do it.
They don’t want to actually print, you know, print the truth. Um, so, you know, if they don’t want to tell the truth, I will, you know, and I, I appreciate people like you that give me the chance to do that. Yeah,
Scott DeLuzio: you bet. Absolutely. And I’m, I’m glad to be able to provide this opportunity to you and anybody else who might find themselves in an unfortunate situation like this.
Uh, we’re going to cut to another quick commercial break though. So stay tuned. Everybody, um, drive on here, [00:44:00] uh, this episode. with Ian Murray. Uh, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you, Ian. Um, do you have any, do you have any final thoughts or any takeaways, anything that you, you hope people can take away from your story and everything that we shared today in this episode?
Ian Murray: Well, the biggest thing is, like I mentioned earlier, I think, you know, um, if you are in the Guard and the Reserves, and you work a civilian job, uh, know your rights, know the laws that protect you, because like I said, this was not the first incident, uh, the incident where I had to deal with something like this, um, the Sheriff’s Office tried to keep me on probation longer for being in the military, and it’s very clearly outlined in the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act that that’s not allowed.
Um, so no, you know, if you get called into a supervisor’s office and they try to start, you, if you feel like your, um, your rights as a military member are being violated, Um, know the laws again, know the laws, know the rules so that you can, [00:45:00] and, you know, print documents, even like I even showed some people the, the rules they were breaking and, um, you know, like I said, just watch your back and, um, you know, don’t, don’t, um, don’t let it, you know, hopefully this never discourages anybody from being in the reserves.
It’s a great second career. I love doing it. Um, it’s been very loyal. You know, like I said, my chain of command with the military, it just proves it’s the more loyal, you know, um, career for me, honestly. I mean, I’m not saying that all civilian employers are bad by any means. The company I work now for is great.
But, um, you know, don’t let it discourage you from being in the reserves of the guard. If you’re thinking about joining, there’s great benefits, education, you get a, you know, an extra paycheck, there’s retirement benefits associated. Um, just like I said, um, no, you know, no, no, no, what’s there to protect you.
And, you know, just go to work, do your job and, [00:46:00] you know, hopefully they’ll respect your, um, what you’re doing on the side to try and serve your country.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s the best you could do is just, you know, look after yourself, take, take, make sure you take good, uh, copies of all your records and you, you hang onto those so that.
Should something ever come up in the future, you don’t end up in a situation like you found yourself in. Um, and thankfully you, you had those records and you were able to clear your name. Um, now it’s just a matter of, you know, swaying the, uh, the court of public opinion as opposed to, you know, the employer or any, anybody else like that.
So. Uh, thank you again for taking the time to come on and sharing your story. I really do appreciate, uh, you know, everything that you, you came on and shared and I, uh, you know, I’m sorry that you had to go through this, but I’m, I’m glad that you’re getting it out there now and, and sharing it with, with everybody.
So, so thank you for
Ian Murray: that. Yeah. I’m just glad that, um. You know, it happened to me, but it sounds like I did make things easier for the next person that comes behind me that might have to go through this. So, you know, I’m at least happy that, [00:47:00] um, my experience might make someone’s life a little better.
Scott DeLuzio: Now, for the listeners who haven’t caught the last few episodes, sometimes when we have these, these episodes, some of the topics that we cover can be pretty heavy. This episode, maybe not. Quite as heavy as some others, but, um, still, if you’ve been in a situation, uh, like Ian has been, maybe it, maybe it is a little heavy.
So, what I want to do with each episode is end it with some humor and something just to get you to crack a little smile, even laugh a little. Um, and so, here we go. A little quick joke for you guys. Um, an admiral and a general were fishing together when a sudden storm hit. They’re, they’re, both of the guys were knocked out of the boat.
And when the storm died down, they’re both struggling, uh, to get back into the boat. Now the Admiral made his way back to the boat first and, and pulled himself in. He was struggling to get himself in, but he managed to pull himself back into the boat, and then he went over and fished a general out of the, uh, out of the water using an oar, and as the [00:48:00] Admiral was catching his breath.
He said to the general, man, don’t tell a word of this to anybody. If the Navy found out that I can’t swim, I’d, I’d be disgraced. And the general says, don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me. I’d hate to find out, have my men find out that I can’t walk on water.
I got to, got to poke fun at the, uh, At the senior officers there.
Ian Murray: Oh, of course. Yeah. Uh, that’s, uh, yeah, my, uh, my Colonel and my, my BC, they all laugh at that kind of stuff too. So yeah, that’s nice. That’s like, that’s a good one.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. It’s good when you, when you get guys like that, who can, who can kind of laugh at themselves.
So, um, thank you again, Ian, for taking the time to join us. I really do appreciate it.
Ian Murray: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. And, um, I hope, uh, I hope I was able to, uh, provide some good insight and some, some helpful information for anyone who’s listening.