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13-130 Detention Deputy Terminated For Sustained Charges Of Use Of Excessive Force On An Inmate, Falsifying Report And Untruthfulness

Who:
Deputy Elizabeth Kretzer
Age: 40
Date of Hire: 10/04/1999
Terminated effective, June 14, 2013 for violation of various Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office General Orders and Policies.

What:
Today, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the termination of a detention deputy for using excessive force on an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail; for untruthfulness and for falsifying information on the report that documented the incident, – this in violation of the agency’s General Orders and policies.

According to investigators, the detention deputy used excessive force on the inmate, to include slapping her on the side of the head; and then lied on the report, saying the inmate grabbed her, in order to cover up for her inappropriate use of force.

When:
The incident occurred while the Detention Deputy was on duty on December 23, 2012.

Where:
The incident occurred at the Pinellas County Jail.

Why/How:
The internal affairs investigation revealed that after perceiving an inmate’s attempt to collect an extra breakfast tray, the detention deputy, identified as 40 year-old Elizabeth Kretzer, denied the inmate receipt of it. Detention Deputy Kretzer then improperly engaged in a verbal argument with the inmate and then left to continue her supervision of the distribution of meals.

Investigators say that as the detention deputy stepped away, the inmate “flipped” her “off”, prompting the detention deputy to direct the inmate to exit the housing unit. When the inmate complied and entered the unit’s vestibule, Kretzer improperly challenged her to repeat the gesture. The inmate accepted the challenge.

According to investigators, when the housing unit’s vestibule gate was breached, Kretzer clutched the shoulder of the inmate’s sweatshirt and pulled her out of the vestibule, through the corridor and into a visitation room. The action was done with sufficient force to cause the inmate to bounce off the detention deputy’s body. While in the visitation room, Kretzer struck the inmate across the side of her head with her hand; and then falsely claimed in her report that the inmate grabbed her shirt prompting her to slap the inmate in order to create distance from her.

The touching of the inmate and use of force was determined to be unjustified, and by Kretzer’s own admission ,- the inmate offered no resistance. Further, Detention Deputy Kretzer misrepresented and omitted facts of the incident in her report,  including failure to document the use of force.

As a result of the internal affairs investigation, Kretzer was terminated effective June 14, 2013.

Criminal charges are being investigated and will be referred to the State Attorney’s Office for review.

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