Pinellas SO completes excessive force investigation

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On May 25, dash cameras were rolling as Deputy Alexander Edge tried to subdue 25-year-old Jimarez Reed outside his ex-girlfriend’s house, where he reportedly showed up with a gun. 

The video shows Deputy Edge and Deputy Jason Fineran hitting and struggling to get Reed to comply.

“The use of force never looks good and sometimes what looks good is awful, but it is sometimes justified,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at a press conference Wednesday.

Sheriff Gualtieri says the case was one of the most exhaustive Internal Affairs investigations his department has ever reviewed.

In the end, the two deputies will both be suspended without pay but not for their use of “excessive force.”

“This situation could and should have been avoided have deputy Edge not jumped on Reed's back and he had waited for a backup deputy,” he said.  “Deputy Edge should not have gone hands-on with Reed but once he did, his actions were reasonable and lawful."

He’ll face a 15-day suspension.

Deputy Fineran will be off the job for five days for turning off his microphone, which is why the video is muted.  The sheriff says this is not the first time he’s done that.

Lawyer: Video shows excessive force used during Pinellas County arrest

“What were you doing or saying that was inappropriate that you needed to turn your mic off?” said Michele Rayner.

Rayner is Reed’s attorney.  She calls the encounter unacceptable and says they’re considering legal action.

“He's very careful to say they're in trouble for violating policy but they were not in trouble for excessive force. You can’t really get used for violating policy but you can get sued for excessive force,” she said.

She says Reed’s charges have been dropped.