Pinellas Deputies: Off-Duty Sarasota Cop Shoved Airline Employee, Son
Pinellas sheriff’s deputies said he told them they could not arrest him because he was a police officer with the Sarasota Police Department.
PINELLAS COUNTY – An off-duty Sarasota police officer was arrested Friday (Nov. 9) after he shoved both an airline employee and his son and refused to leave the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Derrick Gilbert, 51, was charged with one count each of trespassing on property other than structure or conveyance, battery, and domestic battery.
Sarasota police Chief Bernadette DiPino said Gilbert, who is assigned to the patrol division, will be placed on administrative leave with pay. An internal affairs investigation has been opened.
“We hold our officers to the highest standard of both professionalism on and off duty,” DiPino said. “I’ve instructed our internal affairs division to conduct a through investigation. We will diligently investigate this incident per our policies.”
Deputies from the Pinellas sheriff’s airport unit said they were called to the Allegiant Airline terminal about 6:30 p.m. for a report of an intoxicated man who had been removed from Allegiant Flight 834 to Greensboro, NC.
When deputies arrived, they found Allegiant Airline employees standing on the terminal ramp with Gilbert and his 18-year-old son, Tai Gilbert.
Deputies said the elder Gilbert’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. Gilbert was yelling profanities at Allegiant Airline employees and he refused to move into the terminal away from the aircraft.
Allegiant Airline employees told deputies that Gilbert had been on the airplane where he appeared to be intoxicated. Flight attendants said Gilbert was so intoxicated he couldn’t find his seat, had slurred speech, glassed over eyes, and looked confused.
Flight attendants said they have a zero tolerance for intoxicated passengers and determined Gilbert was too intoxicated to fly so they asked him to leave the aircraft. At first, Gilbert refused to leave the aircraft but attendants said they eventually convinced him to get off the plane.
Deputies said they warned Gilbert that he had to leave the airport or be arrested on a charge of trespassing. Deputies said Gilbert refused to leave the airport and told deputies they could not arrest him because he was a police officer with the Sarasota Police Department.
Meanwhile, witnesses told deputies that Gilbert intentionally pushed Allegiant Airline employee, 25-year-old Kelby Oats, while Gilbert was getting off the plane.
Witnesses also told deputies that Gilbert’s son, Tai, was trying to convince him to leave peacefully when Gilbret “violently pushed Tai and grabbed Tai by the neck in an angry manner.”
Oats and Tai Gilbert were uninjured.
Allegiant Airlines staff said that there were about 133 people waiting to take off on Flight 834 when the incident occurred.
Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Arrests | Police Officer Arrested | Tampabay News
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