PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas authorities finally addressed allegations of excessive force months after a video surfaced of a violent arrest in their jurisdiction.
Video obtained by News Channel 8 shows a struggle between two Pinellas Deputies and Jimarez Reed on May 25 in Pinellas Park.
In the video, Reed is pinned down with both arms seemingly extended and in view when officers begin hitting him. The deputies continue to hit Reed repeatedly. One appears to be pulling his dreadlocks while the other strikes him in the head or neck.
A witness said Reed was acting in an erratic manner and the witness had seen Reed with a gun.
After the incident, Reed was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence and obstructing or resisting an officer without violence.
Two semi-automatic handguns were found in Reed’s car.
In October, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident took place in their jurisdiction, but would not provide more information.
On Wednesday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the first responding deputy, Deputy Edge, will receive a 15 day suspension due a policy violation.
Gualtieri said the “whole situation could and should have been avoided,” as Edge should not have engaged Reed when he thought he was armed and he did not wait for backup.
The administrative review board found that Edge had violated policy because he made unnecessary contact that caused the use of force.
Gualtieri said the second responding deputy, Deputy Fineran’s, strikes to Reed and pulling of his hair were justified to keep Reed from reaching for the gun the deputies believe he had on his person.
However, Fineran will receive a five day suspension for knowingly turning off the microphone for his in-car video while he had Reed at gunpoint, which is against sheriff’s office policy.
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