Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Wednesday he has suspended two of his deputies for violating department procedures during a use of force arrest that was partially caught on dash cam video.
The video shows the deputies striking 25-year-old Jimarez Reed in May.
Sheriff Gualtieri said the use of force never looks good but that the deputies were justified in striking Reed, pulling his hair and hitting him with a handcuff.
The deputies had a good reason to believe Reed had a gun in his waistband and was refusing their lawful orders, the sheriff said.
Gualtieri did find problems with the incident, saying Deputy Alexander Edge should have never jumped on Reed from behind. It was a dangerous move that could have created crossfire, Gualtieri said.
Edge is being suspended for 15 days.
Deputy Jason Fineran is being suspended for five days for intentionally muting the audio on the dash cam video, the sheriff said.
“The reason why there’s no audio initially is because Deputy Fineran intentionally turned it off, which is a direct violation of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office policy,” Gualtieri said. “Deputy Fineran testified for whatever the reason that he has a habit of turning off his microphone.”
Reed’s attorney, Michele Rayner said she is not pleased with the discipline issued. She released the dash cam video in October.
“Some things don’t add up for me,” Rayner said. “But I understand that he is doing his job and he’s protecting his deputies and also possibly trying to protect himself from a lawsuit and protect his department from a lawsuit. So I get what he’s doing.”
— Josh Rojas (@JoshRojasBN9) December 13, 2017
Gualtieri said Reed has plenty of blame for the incident and was even caught on a jail house phone call to his ex-girlfriend saying “he likes to bleed and he likes to fight.”
The sheriff said the incident began because Reed showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s home with a gun. Deputies did not find that gun on Reed but did find it and another one in his car.
Reed was charged with carrying a concealed firearm, resisting an officer with violence and obstruction.
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