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Dunnellon woman jailed after tax office ruckus over social distancing

Sandra Kathleen Gales

A Dunnellon woman was arrested after she allegedly shoved a man during a ruckus at the tax office over social distancing.

Sandra Kathleen Gales, 57, of 9020 SW 209th Circle, was charged with simple battery after the incident, which happened Thursday afternoon at the Marion County Tax Collector’s Office, located at 19995 SW 86th St. Unit 2.

The victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy that Gales was yelling at several people inside the office due to social distancing guidelines. He said several people were asked to exit the office by staff due to the disturbance, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said Gales came out of the office a short time later and became involved in an altercation with an older woman. He said Gales was nose-to-nose with the other woman, yelling at her it was safe to go inside now. The victim said Gales wouldn’t stop yelling at the woman or back away from her, so he stepped between them and told Gales she needed to leave, the report said.

The victim said Gales then shoved him with two hands, causing him to stumble backwards. He said Gales entered her vehicle, still yelling obscenities, and as she started to leave the location, she inadvertently backed into another vehicle. The victim said Gales then parked on the other side of the parking lot and there was no further contact, according to the report.

Four eyewitnesses, including the woman Gales argued with, as well as a woman who only saw part of the incident, confirmed the victim’s account of the incident, the report said.

While the deputy was speaking with the victim, Gales started to approach him and spontaneously said, “Did that poke in the chest hurt you?” The deputy told Gales to back to her vehicle, where another deputy said Gales told her she had pushed the victim, according to the report.

Gales was taken to the Marion County Jail, where she was released Friday on her own recognizance. She is scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Aug. 25.

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