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Tallahassee Police Chief responds to officer firing, investigation continues

Posted at 11:48 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 23:48:47-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell is explaining his decision to fire Officer Charles Hansford following an altercation with a handcuffed suspect.

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell says video from the Leon County Detention Facility showed him enough to let that officer go.

Last Monday, on MLK Day, Tallahassee Police say that while taking a DUI suspect into the Leon County jail, Officer Hansford got into an altercation with the handcuffed man.

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell says the next day, they launched an internal investigation, starting with body camera footage.

"There's not a lot you can tell about it. You can hear the audio. We knew it wasn't good but you couldn't tell what happened," said Chief Revell.

TPD placed Officer Charles Hansford on administrative leave initially. One day later- two days after the altercation- video from the jail showed a clearer image of what police say happened.

"It was what it appeared to be. I made the decision to terminate the officer because it's outside of our policy and procedure of how we expect our officers to act," he said.

That video shows two officers taking someone into the jail. Then one officer starts hitting the person before they make it inside.

Now the State Attorney Jack Campbell is waiting on the case to close before taking over.

"The Tallahassee Police Department is doing a criminal investigation into the officer's actions. We won't file charges until the investigation is complete. I would guess seven to ten days," said Campbell. "It may be faster than that but that's a good estimate."

Campbell says that while the officer could face charges, that's doesn't change things for the person accused of DUI.

"It certainly complicates it, but it doesn't absolve his criminal responsibility. Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because the officer did something wrong doesn't excuse any criminal behavior of the arrestee," he said.

TPD is now celebrating the action of Officer Edward Campbell. He's the second cop in the video; the one who stepped in to stop Hansford.

"It's a tough situation for an officer to be put in. It's something where he's not going to feel good about being patted on the back but he did what he had to do, what we expect him to do, and what the community expects him to do. That he should take great pride in," said Chief Revell.

Body camera video is expected to be released Wednesday.