Police in Tampa, Florida, announced they had fired an officer Tuesday after an internal investigation into a video showing him dragging a woman to jail.
Gregory Damon violated several department policies last month during an incident in which a woman refused to get out of a patrol vehicle to enter the jail, the police department announced in a news release. A review of body camera and security video showed Damon grabbed her arm and dragged her to the front gate of the jail after she yelled at him, «I want you to drag me,» along with obscenities.
Damon also responded to the woman with «rude and derogatory comments,» the police department said.
Acting Police Chief Lee Bercaw said Damon’s actions were «unacceptable and are not tolerated in this department.»
«Professionalism is not only expected, but required, in every encounter our officers have with the public, whether or not the arrestee is uncooperative or unpleasant in return,» Bercaw said. «As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard.»
Damon was unable to speak when contacted by phone Thursday. The Tampa Police Benevolent Association said in a statement that it was aware of the allegations against Damon but was not representing him in the matter.
«However, we stand with the men and women of the Tampa Police Department who serve our citizens on a daily basis with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity,» the organization said.
The incident occurred on November 17, after officers were called to the Tampa Family Health Center on a report of a person sleeping outside the property refusing to leave, police said. The woman, who had a previous incident at the facility in October, was arrested for trespassing.
Supervisors from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, referred Damon’s actions to the Tampa Police Bureau of Standards. He was found to have violated multiple protocols, including policies related to prisoner search, transportation and booking, response to resistance, and treatment of a person in custody.
The police department revised its protocols in 2013 after a similar incident involving uncooperative inmates.
«Detention officers are to assist an officer in lifting the individual from the transport vehicle and secure him in a restraint chair to take him to the entry area,» the police department said in its news release.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor was the department head when the policy went into effect. The mayor’s office declined to comment on the termination Thursday.
Damon’s firing comes after two other incidents of police misconduct at the Tampa Police Department in recent weeks.
Former boss Mary O’Connor was asked to resign this month after she and her husband were pulled over in November while driving a golf cart with no license plates. During the stop, O’Connor showed her badge to a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy and asked if she would let them go.
The deputy’s body camera recorded the incident and O’Connor was placed on administrative leave.
“It is unacceptable for any public employee, and especially the city’s top police leader, to ask for special treatment because of their position,” Castor said after O’Connor’s resignation. «The public’s trust in the Tampa Police Department is paramount to our success as a city and community.»
An official was put on leave on December 16 after an accident in which sheriff’s deputies arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. The outcome of the investigation in that case is pending.