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Detention Deputy Accused of Kicking Pinellas Jail Inmate

James Willis Moran | Pinellas Sheriff | Arrests

The inmate had thrown a cookie to a bird, Pinellas deputies said.

LARGO – A detention deputy was arrested and fired after an investigation determined that he kicked an inmate, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

James Moran, 57, was charged with one count of Battery (misdemeanor). Moran was fired Tuesday (April 23). He had worked for the Pinellas sheriff since Nov. 26, 2012.

Detectives from the Administrative Investigation Division said they received a complaint Tuesday from 31-year-old Mario Christo, who was recently released as an inmate from the Pinellas County Jail.

Christo told detectives that he was an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail on Jan. 11, assigned to a work crew in the kitchen area of Central Division with several other inmates.

Christo said he was emptying the trash in the kitchen area when he found a cookie in the trash container and threw it to a bird that was sitting on top of the dumpster.

Moran, a detention deputy assigned to Central Division at the Pinellas County Jail, was monitoring Christo’s work crew and saw someone throw the cookie.

Detectives said Moran used profanity and asked which inmate threw the cookie. Christo admitted he threw the cookie.

Using profanity, Moran told Christo to “drop” and give him 50 push-ups. Christo complied, got into a push-up position, and completed more than 20 push-ups before having to stop because he was tired.

Christo told detectives he was in a face-down push-up position on the ground when Moran walked over and kicked him for no apparent reason in the right side of his torso. Christo said Moran told him to resume doing push-ups but he was too tired and could not continue.

Christo said Moran forced him to remain in a face-down push-up position for almost two minutes before he was allowed to relax.

Christo said he never reported the incident while he was an inmate at the jail for fear of retribution. No injury was ever reported as a result of the incident but Christo said his side hurt for several days.

Detectives said Christo was originally arrested by the St. Petersburg Police Department on July 25, charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting an Officer without Violence, and Resisting an Officer with Violence. Christo was sentenced in October and was serving a 364-day sentence at the Pinellas County Jail when the incident occurred.

Christo was released April 16 from the Pinellas County Jail for time served. Shortly after his release, Christo contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and filed a complaint with the Administrative Investigation Division.

Detectives conducted an investigation into Christo’s complaint and obtained surveillance video of the incident. Deputies said the surveillance video corroborated Christo’s allegations and clearly showed Moran batter Christo.

Photo shows James Moran. Courtesy of the Pinellas County Jail.

Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Battery | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Detention Deputy Accused of Kicking Pinellas Jail Inmate
Article Name
Detention Deputy Accused of Kicking Pinellas Jail Inmate
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The inmate had thrown a cookie to a bird, Pinellas deputies said.
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TB Reporter
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