Pinellas deputy suspended after dropping gun in jail recreation yard with inmates present

A Pinellas County deputy admitted he mishandled a "less-lethal shotgun" after dropping it into county jail's recreation yard where inmates were present and was suspended for 24 work hours.

According to a sheriff's office inter-office memo, the deputy leaned the weapon against the "northern railing of the recreation tower" and it was "within inches of a gap between two railings." The deputy was sitting in a chair that overlooks the yard. 

When the deputy stood, the shotgun fell through that gap and into the recreation yard because the deputy's leg hit it, according to the report. 

"As you stood up from your chair, your left leg made contact with the less-lethal shotgun," the memo read in part, "which resulted in the weapon falling through the gap between the railings. The less-lethal shotgun fell through the razor wire and into a fenced-in portion of the recreation yard."

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The deputy ordered the inmates to avoid the shotgun and requested another deputy to meet in the yard.

"While summoning the other deputy, you did not request an emergency response, nor convey that a less-lethal shotgun had fallen into the recreation yard. Responding deputies were eventually able to retrieve the weapon from the secure area," the memo stated.

The Pinellas deputy initially received a 40-hour suspension but it was reduced to 24 work hours due to the violation being "education based discipline." The suspension will be served on Friday, Dec. 30, Monday, Jan. 3 and Tuesday, Jan. 4