Officer Gregory Damon, a member of the Tampa police force since 2016, was released from his duties following an internal review regarding an incident in which he dragged a female detainee who refused to walk.
The video, recorded November 17, 2022, shows Damon as he attempts to remove the woman from his police cruiser inside the parking area of a Hillsborough County jail for booking.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) December 27, 2022
Audio from Damon’s body camera recorded his threat to drag the detainee – whose identity has not been released – if she refused to walk.
She replies, “I want you to drag me.”
During the incident, Damon stops and tells the woman to stand up. She again refuses, and he continues to drag her to the booking area.
Interim Police Chief Lee Berclaw released the following statement regarding the Damon’s release : “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 that individual deter them from following the policies and procedures out in place for safety This former officer’s actions were unacceptable and are not tolerated at this department.”
TPD had previously revised it’s policies in 2013 following a similar incident, requiring officers to seek assistance from booking staff to place uncooperative detainees in a restraining chair from transport vehicles in order to enable booking. The new regulations specifically advised that dragging was never an appropriate practice.
This incident marks the second scandal to hit TPD in months, with Chief Mary O’Connor resigning in November of 2022 following footage release of a traffic stop she was subjected to while driving an untagged golf cart on the road, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Mayor Mary Jane Castor called for her resignation, stating “The Tampa Police Department has a code of conduct that includes high standards for ethical and professional behavior that apply to every member of the police force.”
In her resignation letter, O’Connor, serving as police chief as of February 2022, stated she was resigning with “great sadness”
“I would never want my personal mistake to stand in the way of the progress I have made in mending relationships between the police department and the community, so for that reason, I am resigning,” she said.
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