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13-167 Detention Deputy Terminated For Sustained Charges Of Use Of Excessive Force On An Inmate

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Inspections Bureau
Detention and Corrections Bureau

Deputy Richard Stotts
Age: 48
Date of Hire: 08/20/01
Termination effective July 29, 2013

What:
Today, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the termination of a detention deputy for using excessive force on an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail.

When:
The use of force incident occurred while the detention deputy was on duty at about 9:27 p.m. on May 8, 2013.

Where:
The incident occurred in the booking area of the Pinellas County Jail.

Why/How:
According to the internal affairs investigation, on May 8th, 2013 an arrested suspect was being escorted into the Intake and Receiving area of the jail. The inmate was handcuffed and secured in a “belly band” with his hands immobilized. As the inmate was instructed to stand on the facial recognition mat, he began yelling racial slurs and other profanities toward the detention staff.

Internal affairs investigators say that as the inmate began yelling, Detention Deputy Richard Stotts approached the inmate and without provocation or legal justification struck the handcuffed inmate in the lower neck and head area with his right forearm. Investigators say that with his arm placed around the inmate’s head, Detention Deputy Stotts then took the inmate to the floor and placed himself on top of the inmate.

The investigation determined that at no time did the handcuffed inmate physically threaten any staff member or pose a physical threat to the staff. Investigators say Stotts admitted that the use of force was not justified and that it “didn’t meet the criteria.” Stotts further admitted to over-reacting and losing his temper.

As a result of the internal affairs investigation, Stotts was terminated effective on Monday, July 29, 2013.

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