Jail Deputy Fired for Using Unneeded Force Against an Inmate, Sheriff Says
During the investigation, the deputy admitted that she acted inappropriately and did not feel as if the inmate was threatening her or other deputies.
PINELLAS COUNTY – A detention deputy lost her job Friday (April 5) after an investigation determined she had used unnecessary force against an inmate, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Amy Gee, 37, had worked for the Pinellas sheriff since Feb. 24, 2014. She had not been the subject of disciplinary action before the Jan. 8 incident.
The inmate, Marie Butler, 54, of Largo, had been arrested Jan. 8 in connection with a charge of Disorderly Intoxication. She broke her left arm during the encounter with Gee, deputies said. She was released from custody on Jan. 8.
According to the Administrative Investigation Division, Gee was working as a detention deputy in the Intake/Receiving area at the Pinellas County Jail on Jan. 8, helping inmates through the booking process.
At about 9:02 p.m., Butler was taken to the Pinellas County Jail after being arrested. Gee first came into contact with Butler when she approached Butler to take a booking photo. Butler did not comply with Gee’s direction by refusing to look up at the camera.
Gee then escorted Butler to the booking counter, where she tried to obtain Butler’s name for the purpose of identifying her, but Butler did not respond to Gee’s questioning.
While at the booking counter, Gee stood to Butler’s right, holding Butler’s jacket with her left hand. Butler was secured in handcuffs, with her hands behind her back. Butler shifted her weight away from Gee, who pulled Butler back toward her direction.
Butler then moved away from Gee a second time. Gee pulled Butler back towards her, then placed her right hand around Butler’s neck and maintained her hold as she slammed Butler to the ground.
Simultaneously,Gee placed her right foot behind Butler’s legs which caused Butler to fall to the floor. Because Butler’s hands were secured behind her back, she was unable to break her fall. Butler fell backwards, landing directly on her left arm, which resulted in a fracture to her left humerus, deputies said.
Investigators said that, although Butler was not responding to Gee’s verbal direction, she was not physically resisting or verbally threatening deputies. Gee failed to verbalize or request any assistance from other deputies, and Butler’s actions did not demonstrate the necessity of the force used.
Butler told investigators she lost her balance because she had been drinking and said, “My gait wasn’t a hundred percent.”
Butler further indicated she suffered medical issues that made it uncomfortable for her to stand and she was not trying to get away or resist deputies.
During the course of the administrative investigation, deputies said, Gee admitted that she reacted inappropriately and did not feel as if Butler was going to harm her or other deputies.
Photo is screen capture from Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office video.
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