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Florida sheriff deputies are disciplined following violent arrest, but not for excessive force

Florida sheriff deputies are disciplined following violent arrest, but not for excessive force
Florida sheriff deputies are disciplined following violent arrest, but not for excessive force
Posted at 3:53 AM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 22:59:04-05

PINELLAS PARK,  FL (WFLA/CNN) - A pair of Florida deputies have been suspended for their actions during a violent arrest caught on camera.

They’re accused of using excessive force, but that’s not why they’re being disciplined.

Deputy Alexander Edge responded to a call about a man with a gun and arrived to find Jimarez Reed.

A short time later, Deputy Jason Fineran arrived with his dashcam rolling.

"He's not showing his hands. He's acting crazy. He's acting out of control,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, referring to Reed. “He's yelling, screaming, running around the car."

The video shows Edge as he approaches Reed from behind.

"This situation could and should have been avoided had deputy Edge not jumped on Reed's back and he had waited for backup deputies so that contact could have been made with Reed safely," Gualtieri said.

Reed was hit a dozen times, but both the review board and the sheriff said the force was justified given how he was behaving. The deputies feared being shot by the gun they thought Reed was carrying in his waistband.

Two weapons were found in Reed’s car, but the State Attorney’s Office dropped a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. 

Edge will serve 15 days with no pay for jumping on Reed’s back.

Fineran is in trouble for a different reason. The video of the arrest is missing part of its audio track.

"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.

That raises a red flag for Reeds attorney Michele Rayner.

"What were you doing or saying that was inappropriate that you needed to turn your mic off,” Rayner asks.

The sheriff says the video doesn't tell the whole story.

Rayner agrees.

"We don't know what has happened,” she said. “We only know his deputy's recitation of the facts, which I don't believe is credible."

Fineran will serve five days for turning off the audio in the recording.

Copyright 2017 WFLA via CNN. All rights reserved.

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