LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Largo police officer is fired for putting a teenager in a choke hold. A two-month-long internal affairs investigation found the six-year veteran violated department policies.
Largo police officials say Officer Brian Livernois went too far. Back in April the 43-year-old responded to a call for battery and a gun threat. He found a group of teens matching the descriptions, and his encounter with them was recorded.
The teen at the center of the incident is 17-year-old Reggie Tullis. His mother says the footage makes her emotional.
"That hurt seeing that video, because I know my son," said Ann Arnold. "I just want justice."
Reggie and another teen were arrested that night for assault on a law enforcement officer and other charges. However, the internal affairs investigation says Livernois admitted he never tried to deescalate the situation.
According to the report, Livernois says Reggie was being aggressive, and he was concerned the teen was going to fight him.
"I'll jack you up right now, do you understand that?" Livernois can be heard asking in the cellphone video.
"That was unnecessary, why would you use force when he's not doing nothing, he's not talking crap to you, he's not in your face, he's not hitting you, nothing," Arnold said.
Officials determined Livernois used undue force when he grabbed Reggie around the neck, and he violated a policy by bullying the group and using profane language.
The Police Chief Jeffrey Undestad fired the 43-year-old Tuesday. He released a statement saying: "We take great pride in the positive relationship the Largo Police Department has with our community. Actions like this are not acceptable and violate the public's trust, which every employee has worked so hard to earn. This situation warranted the former officer's termination."
"Tears of joy, tears of joy," said Arnold.
She tells us she is glad Livernois is off the streets, but believes more should be done to correct what happened.
"I feel like he should be charged," she said. "And I will take matters into my own hands on this if he's not charged."
Arnold says she is speaking with a lawyer to see what their options are. At the very least, she believes the charges against Reggie and the other teen should be dropped.