State Attorney reviewing pushing incident involving Commissioner Kerry Smith

Posted on April 3, 2024 by Romi White

The First Judicial State Attorney’s Office is reviewing an incident which took place during last night’s Santa Rosa County District 2 Town Hall in East Milton when Commissioner Kerry Smith walked over and pushed the chest of a constituent who was voicing frustration with the elected official.

That constituent, Michael Stevens, a resident of District 2, immediately left the meeting. Stevens said he contacted Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office to make a complaint and deputies responded to his home.

South Santa Rosa News has requested a copy of Stevens’ sworn statement and related bodycam footage. Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office replied, stating the bodycam footage is under “active criminal investigation.”

Around a half dozen videos taken during the town hall show Stevens expressed frustration over how Smith was seemingly ignoring his raised hand and calling on other citizens. Stephens loudly started speaking, accusing Smith of breaking his campaign promise to put “Roads before Development,” noting that hundreds of homes have been built in District 2. “It was your campaign slogan,” said Stevens.

Additionally, Stevens voiced opposition to Smith’s recent vote to grant a variance allowing construction of a gas station within the county’s designated well field protection area.

In the videos, Smith is seen walking from the front of the audience over to where Stevens was speaking, pushing the man’s chest. 

Stevens then dramatically flailed his arms, stating he is disabled and saying he hoped someone got the incident on video.

Smith has previously been adjudicated guilty of battery. He was given six months’ probation at the time.

Pursuant to Florida State Statute 748.03 the offense of battery occurs when a person “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other. Additionally, F.S.S. 748.03 goes on to state that a person who has one prior conviction for (battery) and who commits any second or subsequent battery commits a felony of the third degree.