Assistant city attorney found naked outside takes personal leave

Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 6:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 6:15 p.m.

The assistant attorney for the city of Gainesville who was arrested Saturday on allegations he was prowling in and around a woman's home while naked is on personal leave.

Ronald D. Combs, 59, of 706 NE Fifth Place, requested the leave after he was arrested, said city spokesman Bob Woods.

"Subsequent to his arrest, he elected to take his available personal leave. That's the status now," Woods said. "The attorney's office is continuing its fact gathering and has not made a final disposition of the matter."

The Gainesville Police Department reported the woman was in her home in the 500 block of Northeast Eighth Avenue when the incident occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday.

The woman told police a noise woke her and she saw a naked man standing in her bedroom who ran off when he saw that she was awake.

The woman got up and found that a back door that she had locked before she went to bed had been opened.

She called 911, and police responded and saw a man wearing only a skull cap and running shoes moving through yards in the neighborhood.

Police said they chased the man, who turned out to be Combs, through yards and streets. He refused to stop and officers chased him to a house in the 700 block of Northeast Fifth Terrace, where they shot him with a Taser to apprehend him, police said.

He was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, prowling and resisting arrest without violence.

Combs was released from the Alachua County jail at 9:21 p.m. Monday on bond of $15,000, according to the jail.

The city's code of conduct and disciplinary procedures state that an employee may be suspended indefinitely or for a specified period without pay for offenses in the code or for violation of department rules and regulations. Among those rules are two dealing with criminal activity.

The first one concerns an employee who pleads guilty or no contest, or who is found guilty in court, to a misdemeanor involving physical violence, theft, DUI, possession or sale of drugs.

Punishment for the first offense is five days suspension or dismissal. Punishment for the second offense is dismissal.

The second rule concerns pleading guilty or no contest, or being found guilty in court, to a felony.

Punishment for the first offense is 10 days suspension or dismissal. Punishment for the second offense is dismissal.

Another rule concerns immoral, unlawful or improper conduct or decency on or off the job that would tend to affect the employee's relationship to the job, fellow workers' reputations or goodwill in the community.

Punishment for the first offense is five days suspension or dismissal. Punishment for the second is termination.

State Attorney Bill Cervone said burglary is a felony, while the other charges against Combs are misdemeanors.

Cervone said his office is investigating the case before determining final charges.

"We need to evaluate the evidence to see if there is sufficient proof of these crimes. They are technical in nature," Cervone said. "With any offender who has no record, an agreement is a possibility, but until I know more about what caused this to happen and have more input from police and the victim, I'm not going to commit to something of that sort."

Combs has worked for the city since March 1986. His job performance earned high ratings in evaluations in his personnel file.

Included in the file were commendations from current Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones dating from when he was interim chief and former Chief Wayland Clifton.

Combs often worked with the police department on legal issues as part of his job.

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