SUNRISE, Fla. – A police sergeant in Florida who was recorded grabbing an officer by the throat when she tried to deescalate a situation involving a handcuffed suspect is facing four criminal charges, prosecutors announced Thursday, once the Sunrise Police Department and the Broward State Attorney’s Office completed the investigation.
Sgt. Christopher Pullease of the Sunrise Police Department was charged Wednesday with felony battery on a law enforcement officer, felony tampering with evidence, misdemeanor assault on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor assault on a civilian, according to a Broward State Attorney’s Office news release, FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported.
The incident happened Nov. 19, 2021 and Pullease was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation unfolded, Law Officer previously reported.
(Sunrise Police Department/Facebook)
The encounter took place when several officers were arresting a man for aggravated battery. The suspect is accused of striking people outside a business.
Bodycam footage that was released showed Pullease arriving at the scene, walking up to the suspect as officers were struggling to get him into the police unit.
Pullease reportedly pulled out his pepper spray and aimed it at the suspect as he leaned into the vehicle to speak to the arrestee.
The officer suddenly ran over and pulled on Pullease’s duty belt in her effort to get him away from the suspect, the bodycam video showed.
Pullease quickly turned around and appeared to put a c-clamp type of maneuver on the officer’s neck as he shoved her against another patrol unit, the footage shows.
The suspect had been handcuffed and placed into a cruiser when Pullease pointed pepper spray at him, officials said.
When asked about his reaction to the bodycam video, Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa told WSVN, “I find this behavior to be disgusting. I think the video speaks for itself.”
A Sunrise Police sgt is on desk duty during an IA. Body cam vid shows him grabbing the throat of a young officer after she pulled him back from a cuffed arrestee.
“I find this behavior to be disgusting.”- Chief Rosa
— Daniel Cohen (@DCohenNEWS) January 14, 2022
According to prosecutors, Pullease faces a maximum penalties of five years in state prison for felony battery on a law enforcement officer, one year for assaulting a law enforcement officer, and 60 days for assault on a civilian, if convicted, FOX 13 reported.
(Broward Sheriff’s Office)
The tampering with evidence charge originated from January of this year, when Pullease reportedly tampered with his cellphone, according to investigators. If convicted on that charge, the maximum penalty is five years in prison.