TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida police officer accused of dragging a handcuffed woman into a booking area at a city jail has been fired from his job, authorities said.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Tampa Police Department said that Officer Gregory Damon, a member of the force for more than six years, was fired after an investigation stemming from a Nov. 17 arrest.
Police said that Damon violated policies for searching, transporting and booking of prisoners, courtesy to the public, reporting response to resistance, treatment of persons in custody and standard of conduct, the release stated. Damon also violated policies related to body-worn cameras, response to resistance and incompetence.
Damon and other officers were called to a medical officer in Tampa’s Belmont Heights neighborhood, the Tampa Bay Times reported. People at the office said the woman was sleeping outside the building and refused their requests to leave, according to the newspaper.
The woman had been previously warned about trespassing on the same property on Oct. 19, the news release stated.
On Nov. 17, the woman was arrested on a trespass after warning charge and was taken to the Orient Road Jail by Damon.
When Damon arrived with the woman at the jail, she refused to step out of his patrol SUV and walk into the central booking department, according to the Times.
A body camera video released by the Tampa Police Department shows Damon telling the woman, “I’m going to drag you out of this car.”
“I want you to drag me,” the woman answered.
The officer then removed the woman from the SUV and pulls her by the arm across a concrete floor, the Times reported. Damon dragged the woman to a doorway and then pushes a buzzer to request additional officers to assist him. At that point, the video from the Tampa Police Department ends, according to the newspaper.
The woman, who was not hurt during the incident, repeatedly used “vulgar and obscene” language, the news release stated.
“Rather than remaining professional, Damon himself made rude and derogatory comments to the arrestee,” according to the release.
The incident was reported to the Tampa Police Department by supervisors at the jail, which is run by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Times reported.
Damon was fired after an investigation determined that the officer failed to follow established procedures.
“Professionalism is not only expected, it is demanded, in every encounter our officers have with the public, regardless of the arrestee being uncooperative or unpleasant in return. As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard,” Lee Bercaw, Tampa’s interim police Chief, said in a statement. “The actions of one individual should not tarnish the work of the nearly 1,000 officers protecting and serving our city who, on any given day, encounter people who choose to be uncooperative during the arresting and booking process; however, they do not let the actions of that individual deter them from following the policies and procedures put in place for safety.
“This former officer’s actions were unacceptable and are not tolerated at this department, which is why we acted swiftly in initiating an internal investigation, relieving him of his duties, and ultimately terminating his employment.”
©2022 Cox Media Group