Florida Police Release Video of Firefighter Polygraphs

Police on Tuesday released video recordings of the lie detector tests in which experts said two Jacksonville firefighters failed to tell the truth during the investigation into hangman's nooses found at a Jacksonville firehouse.

In February, two nooses were found on the equipment of two black firefighters at Fire Station 4. The incident resulted in a lengthy investigation being launched.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office gave polygraph tests to dozens of firefighters during the course of the investigation. Lt. Matt Cipriani and firefighter Rufus Smith were found to have deceptive results on their polygraph tests.

Cipriani volunteered to take a second city-administered test, which returned the same result. He later paid an independent examiner, which he passed.

Smith, one of two black firefighters who had a noose placed on his equipment, choose not to take a second test. The second potential victim, Ronald Laws, never submitted to a lie detector test.

The video released by the sheriff's office shows both men being asked 10 questions, including "Did you place the nooses on the bunker gear?"

Both answered no. Examiners ruled their answers were deceptive.

Cipriani told Channel 4's Jim Piggott on Monday he was upset because the sheriff's office said he failed two lie-detector tests when he was asked about nooses being found on the equipment of two black firefighters.

"I have been fully cooperative. I do not have direct or indirect involvement in this incident. I do not know of anyone who does. I have provided all the information I can to JSO and I will continue to do so until this person is caught," Cipriani said.

Lt. Matt Cipriani taking his second city-administered lie detector test He said he was telling the truth, and that was why he paid an Orlando firm and had them give him the third polygraph test.

Channel 4 was given a copy of the private examiners' questions and results. In the test, Cipriani was asked: Were you in the coatroom when the nooses were put on the bunker? Did you have or ever have the nooses in your hands? Did you knowingly provide any false, misleading or incorrect information?

Cipriani answered no to all of the questions.

"I have not sought legal representation. I want this person or persons caught just as much as anybody else," Cipriani said.

The examiner report said there is no indication of deception, and that there was no reaction that indicated he was lying.

Cipriani, who still works at Station 4, said he is ready to move on.

"I ran the gamut of emotion. It has been a tough time from the onset of the incident through the investigation and going through that," Cipriani said.

About two weeks ago, the sheriff's office said it had a new tip in the noose investigation case. However, on Monday JSO said the case is closed.

Previous Stories:

  • December 18, 2006: Second Firefighter Speaks About Noose Investigation, Polygraph Tests
  • December 4, 2006: Police Release Details, Reopen Noose Case
  • November 30, 2006: Black Firefighters: Noose Incident Part Of 'Persistent' Problem
  • November 29, 2006: Firefighter Says He Cooperated 110 Percent In Noose Investigation
  • November 28, 2006: Police Close Case On Firehouse Nooses
  • November 27, 2006: Fed's JFRD Investigation Results Disappoint Mayor
  • November 27, 2006: Firefighters Postpone Reward In Noose Incident
  • November 22, 2006: Firefighter Discusses Noose Incident, Fed's Decision Not To Prosecute
  • November 22, 2006: Feds: Investigation Of Firehouse Nooses Inconclusive
  • November 15, 2006: Mayor Responds To JFRD Task Force Findings
  • September 18, 2006: Duval Grand Jury Won't Investigate JFRD
  • August 8, 2006: Human Rights Panel: Mayor Might Need To Replace Fire Chief, Top Staff
  • February 21, 2006: Another Black Firefighter Tells Of Noose
  • February 20, 2006: Fire Chief: Those Who Put Nooses In Firehouse Will Be Terminated
  • February 17, 2006: Nooses Found At Downtown Fire Station