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LPD PIO's Blog

A press conference will be held today, September 16, 1:00pm at the Lakeland Police Department, 3rd floor, room 3a. At this time we will discuss the arrest of Michael Emmanuel Taveras, 28 years old, a Southwest Middle School teacher employed by the Polk County School Board. Taveras was arrested late last night for Sexual Battery (3 counts) of a student 14 years of age from Southwest Middle School.




The parents of the victim reported the sexual battery to the Lakeland Police Department on September 13, 2014. The victim had confided in a counselor that she had sex with a school teacher at Southwest Middle School in Lakeland. The victim is no longer a student at Southwest Middle School and reported the incident first occurred on June 6 when she was completed community service hours at the school. The victim stated that while in one of the classrooms, the defendant approached her from the rear and sexually battered her. The victim knew the defendant as he was previously her teacher.


On August 11, the victim reported that she was again at the school obtaining community service hours and working under the direction of the defendant. The victim was in a media classroom when she was approached by the defendant at which time he pulled out his penis and motioned for her to perform oral sex. The defendant then slid her shorts off and sexually battered the victim.


On September 15, detectives interviewed the victim and obtained additional details. On more than one occasion, the defendant brought a 50ml mini Jack Daniels bottle of alcohol to the school for the victim. He also had given her gifts such as socks, electronic cigarettes, lingerie and a t-shirt. The defendant and the victim also used a social network site called Kik to communicate.


An arrest warrant was obtained for Michael Emmanuel Taveras and he was arrested yesterday evening at 11:45 pm at his residence in Winter Haven. Taveras is currently being held on no bond. Detectives recovered items of evidentiary value from Taveras residence that corroborated the victims statement along with four computers.


First Shooting – September 12, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.


On September 12, 2014, at 8: 45 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department received several calls of shots fired in the area of 100 Emma Street. Moments later, an off-duty officer working a detail at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) reported a gunshot victim had just been brought to the hospital in a private vehicle. The officer discovered there was blood on the exterior and interior of the vehicle along with several bullet holes. Officers who responded to Emma Street found numerous shell casings in the roadway.


The victim has been identified as Rashon L. Faniel, 27 years old and he was shot once in the chest. The two subjects in the vehicle that transported the victim to LRMC have been identified as Allan Faniel, 21 years old and Tiquan L. Faniel, 30 years old. Allan Faniel was arrested for Resisting Arrest without Violence after he provided a false name to the investigating officer. Allen Faniel advised he had no knowledge of the shooting and Tiquan Faniel refused to cooperate with detectives. Rashon Faniel was admitted in serious condition and at this time, his condition is unknown.


Victim: Rashon L. Faniel

Address: 7348 Hunters Green Circle.


Second Shooting – September 13, 5:57 a.m.


On September 13, at 5:57 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department received several 911 calls in reference to a shooting in the area of 113 Emma Street. Around that same time, a vehicle dropped off the victim at LRMC and then left prior to anyone making contact with them. The victim has been identified as Devan Williams, 24 years old, and he had been shot once in the chest and was unable to provide a statement. Police responded to the scene on Emma Street and located numerous shell casings in the roadway. They also discovered a house at 113 Emma Street had been shot up. This house is being described as Trap House whereas drugs are sold and other illegal activates occur routinely.


Several witnesses who heard the guns shots were interviewed by detectives however at this time, no witnesses advised they actually saw the shooting. Devan Williams was admitted in serious condition and at this his condition is unknown.


Victim: Devan Williams

Address: 1720 Bellgrove Street, Lakeland, Fla.


Third Shooting – September 13, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.


On September 13, at 11:00 a.m., The Lakeland Police Department responded to the area of 800 N. Vermont Avenue in reference to a shooting. The victim has been identified as Edward Charles, 32 years old, and he had been shot once in the chest. Charles was able to say that a vehicle drove by and someone fired 5 or 6 shots in his direction. The vehicle is only described as white 4 door sedan. Numerous shell casings were located in the roadway at Vermont and Parker Street. At this time, no other witnesses have been located and Charles was admitted to LRMC in serious condition.


Victim: Edward Charles

Address: Unknown at this time


Detectives are still investigating all three shootings and suspect that all three could be related due to the close proximity of the shootings. The Lakeland Police Department has added additional resources to curtail any other possible shootings to include tactical officers throughout the evening assisting patrol.   There is no other information at this time. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

***The runaway has been located***


On September 4, at approximately 8:10 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, 1015 Sykes Blvd in reference to a missing/runaway juvenile. The runaway had been at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home a few weeks and has made threats to runaway since she arrived. On September 4th, after school, she left a note written on her bedroom wall that said she hated staying there and felt like dying. She was last seen leaving the facility on foot carrying a backpack.


The Lakeland Police Department canvassed the area and utilized a blood hound from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office as well as their helicopter. Detectives were called out and are currently working the case in an attempted to locate Williams. Williams has been entered into the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC), National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing endanger juvenile. This is not an Amber Alert.


Bullying is the systematic infliction of physical hurt or psychological distress. "Cyberbullying" is simply the use of information technology to do the same thing and it’s a first degree misdemeanor punishable by 12 months in the county jail, and a $1,000.00 fine for each alleged act. The Lakeland Police Department takes cyberstalking allegations seriously and we encourage anyone who feels they have been a victim of cyberstalking to contact us and file a report.

Cyberbullying has emerged as the most prevalent and persistent online threat as technology is becoming a dependable form of communication. The internet provides a feeling of remaining anonymous which can cause someone to say something on-line which they might never say in person. Stalking may take the form of verbal abuse, sexual harassment, or repeated requests for a personal meeting through a variety of social media sites such as: e-mail messages, text messaging, blog or website postings, and postings on social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

Types of Cyberstalking Charges

·cyberbullying (or cyber bullying);

·masquerading as the victim on-line;

·anonymously posting private information about another person;

·texting sexually provocative information or pictures (sexting); and

·on-line sexual harassment.

If you feel like your child, you or someone you know is in danger, contact the police immediately and cut off contact with this person or user, staying offline if need be until you are otherwise instructed. Do not install any programs, or remove any programs or take other remedial action on your computer or communication device during this process. It may adversely affect the investigation and any eventual prosecution.