Trial date set for racial discrimination lawsuit against former Sheriff Watson 

Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. speaks at Wednesday's press conference.
Former Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. at a past press conference.
Photo by Seth Johnson

A lawsuit over a racial discrimination complaint against former Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. has been scheduled for trial in February 2025.  

On Thursday Eighth Judicial Circuity Judge Gloria Walker set the pretrial conference for Jan. 21, with the jury trial set for Feb. 3, 2025, according to WCJB.  

The lawsuit stems from complaints made by Sgt. Kevin Davis, who accused Watson of passing him over for promotion due to his race, according to an Alachua Chronicle article. Davis, who is white, alleges in the lawsuit that less-qualified minority candidates were selected over him starting in January 2021 when Watson took office.  

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Watson faced criticism over during his tenure on how he handled an internal affairs investigation against three Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) employees and in his negotiations with the North Central Florida Police Benevolent Association over a contract with ACSO deputies, which was finally approved in July 2022. 
In June 2023, Watson announced that he would not seek re-election in 2024. On July 31, Watson sent Gov. Ron DeSantis a letter saying he would step down from his position due to health reasons.  

In September, DeSantis appointed Emery Gainy to fill the role. 

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Jim Sparks

Elect a clown…expect a circus


Why does it take so long to get this to trial? Is the court system so overloaded in alachua county or is this a tactic by the defense? Just curious…