A Sunrise Police sergeant has been demoted from his supervisory duties and is under investigation after an incident involving another female officer. Sergeant Christopher Pullease, 46, was caught on camera grabbing an on-duty female officer and then shoving her into a patrol car after she tried to pull him of a suspect while making an arrest.
Authorities in Sunrise, Florida shared body camera footage of an incident that took place November 19. The female officer hasn't been named. Citing an ongoing internal affairs investigation, the department also turned off the sound and obscured almost all of the faces, except for Pullease.
Unlike an Officer
What started as an arrest ended with Pullease putting his hands on the neck of one of his own female officers. The police chief has described the incident as "disgusting" and has ordered for an investigation. The bodycam footage that was released by authorities has now gone viral.
The incident happened on Nov 19 after officers were called to a convenience store along Sunset Strip. The suspect, Jean Bernard Similien, had allegedly battered several people and officers were trying to arrest and put him in a patrol car.
According to Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa, Similien was resisting officers. He was allegedly "verbally and physically resistive" and cops, including the female officer, were struggling to put him in the patrol vicar.
At this point, Pullease came on the scene and got aggressive, Rosa said in a statement. The suspect was already inside the patrol car by then but was still resistant and abusive. Pullease then got into a verbal altercation with the suspect.
Bodycam footage released by police shows, Pullease ducking his head inside the car to confront Similien, while holding a pepper spray can in his hand. He then got further aggressive and instigated Similien further.
According to Rosa Pullease was "inappropriate and unprofessional" in the situation and added that he "unnecessarily elevated the demeanor of the suspect."
That is when the female officer come in and tries to pull back Pullease by holding the back of his duty belt in order to normalize the situation. However, Pullese gets more aggressive at this.
The video footage shows Pullease turning around while backpedaling and then suddenly grabs the female officer's throat and pushes her backward until she hits a nearby police car. Pullease then walks away.
Almost an Attack
According to Rosa, the female officer was following Sunrise police's own policies and procedures for a situation where there's "imminent fear of engagements escalating" between officers and suspects. The face of the female officer is blurred in the video and her identity too hasn't been revealed as an investigation is till on.
However, it has been learnt that the young police officer is with the force for two and a half years.
According to Rosa, it is not known what Pullease exactly told Similien, but it made the situation worse. "I find it to be inappropriate and unprofessional, because what he did is he escalated the situation when calm was actually required," Rosa said.
Rosa said he is proud of the officer who was trying to intervene, praising her good leadership during a tense situation. "I am very proud of the officer involved in this incident and believe that the actions taken were definitive and demonstrative of good leadership during a tense situation," Rosa said.
Pullease has been taken off his supervisory duties since the incident as an investigation into the incident continues.