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Video: Fla. Officers Probed In Rough DUI Arrest

September 11, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Rough Arrest In Florida

Two Tallahassee (Fla.) Police officers have been placed on administrative leave as part of an excessive force probe stemming from the arrest of Christina West for drunk driving on Aug. 10.

City Commissioner Scott Maddox said patrol car video of West's arrest by Officers Chris Ormerod and Matthew Smidt, who were cleared by a sergeant and lieutenant, "made me nauseous." Maddox pushed for an investigation of the officers, reports WCTV.

The incident began at 2:10 a.m. on a Saturday when officers responded to Delaney Drive and Killkenny Way in northeast Tallahassee after West crashed her vehicle into a house. West had three foreign exchange students in her car at the time.

West failed a sobriety test and told officers she had taken prescription medication while drinking alcohol before the crash. She was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol car.

During the investigation, officers discovered that West had slipped her handcuffs. After officers removed her from the car, West resisted arrest. During the confrontation, West falls face first onto the pavement and hitting her head. She sustained a broken cheek bone, along with scrapes and bruises, according to a city press release.

Chief Dennis Jones said the agency regrets that West was injured.

We understand that the video is disturbing to watch, and it is for us too," said Chief Jones in a statement. "We use cameras to help capture events such as this and are making the entire video available as we continue our internal investigation."

Comments (32)

Displaying 1 - 32 of 32

Troop @ 9/11/2013 11:00 PM

What's the big deal.

Dalia @ 9/11/2013 11:02 PM

I feel sorry for what the cops have to put up with.

Lenny @ 9/12/2013 12:51 AM

Up to your usual level of concise and intelligent reporting.
That POS didn't put up with anything, he smashed her face into the car
and then onto the pavement. If he had put the cuffs on her in the first place
this wouldn't have happened. Did she commit a crime, yes was she feisty, yes was she a danger to the two officers, NO. If two men that size can't control a woman of that size without causing that much damage and pain then you have no right wearing a badge.
Officers Chris Ormerod, if this is how you feel women should be treated maybe you have found the perfect career. I did however go to your wedding page and warn your new bride to get away from you ASAP. I see you filed 2 subsequent reports since your first mentioned nothing of this little dust up, and you must now have on file something that will match your new and improved upcoming defense. I see as always other cops saw and approved of your actions. The part I find the most disgusting about this is that you refus

Lenny @ 9/12/2013 1:18 AM

ed her medical attention until told to by deputies at the Leon County Jail.
I can certainly imagine he wouldn't want anyone but other LEOS to see what he had done to her. Amazing how this "officer" can go into some detail about
what the suspect did spinning, flailing, grabbing etc. but not remember her head slamming into the ground, I believe he said he placed her on the ground. Nice that he also tried the usual assault, battery blah blah blah BS, good to see they have already been thrown out. If any of you wonder why we no longer trust or respect law enforcement this video pretty well sums it up. I await the onslaught of anecdotal (well I remember once) a woman half her size knocked down the front four of the Steelers when she was drunk stories, and the endless insults and orders to go elsewhere etc.etc. PS thank you to those officers who actually took the time to explain some things to me on one of my other posts without the shut up and do what I say that I usually get here.

Cool hand Luke @ 9/12/2013 6:50 AM

I went poo poo in my pants...

Bluevixen63 @ 9/12/2013 1:33 PM

@Lenny: Officers do have to put up with a lot of things in the street, one of which is drunk, belligerent and uncooperative individuals. However, does any of this give the officers a free pass to use excessive force? No. But in all fairness, let's wait until a complete investigation is conducted into their actions before we start judging the officers. FYI, you speak of officers their seize being able to handle a woman her size, just for the record when an individual is under the influence of alcohol and drugs they can be quite a handful to deal with, regardless of their size. Furthermore, you have to stop and ask yourself what was the reason for West slipping the handcuffs if it wasn't to possibly attack the officers or attempt to escape. Now I am neither condemning or condoning the officers' actions because I don't know all the facts, but based on this video but for West's actions the officers would not have had to react. Just something to consider.

westcoastleo @ 9/12/2013 3:47 PM

City Commissioner Scott Maddox said patrol car video of West's arrest "made me nauseous." Maddox pushed for an investigation of the officers, reports WCTV.

Well, MR MADDOX, why don't you go out and do the job! West put herself in the position and she is the reason FULLY for the officers actions. When are you idiots going to learn that we as LEO's act on what is going on around us and we do our job based on the actions of others. Next time MR MADDOX the two officers should not even arrest her. They should call you at home from your LOVELY Family to make the arrest.

Mac @ 9/12/2013 4:01 PM

I've got over 500 career DWI arrests.....So I'm no novice to belligerent drunk women.....Personally I wouldn't have slammed this gal into the pavement. That's all I can really say. She was dealt with fairly up to that point. Had they bounced her off the trunk just hard enough to get her attention we would be in agreement......Her actions demanded a response......Just not the level of response she got.

Retired deputy @ 9/12/2013 4:04 PM

Most of the time I side with the officers if force is used properly. In this case the officer who directed the perp to the ground did use excessive force and the officer who assisted is also quilty! They could have cuffed her without putting her on the ground, and placing your knee on the face isn't proper procedure. I'm sorry guys you will lose !!!

Greg @ 9/12/2013 4:07 PM

I was a police officer for six years and worked in the county jail for two years. I have delt with my share of drunk belligerent folks. If two men can't handle a woman that size they need to find another job, period. That is why people hate cops.

Chuck @ 9/12/2013 4:30 PM

if you are so put upon Lenny, why do you keep coming back? Defense attorney? Your post reminds me of those folks in Portland recently that "confronted" the police because the police told them they couldn't camp in the city park, one of the bystanders remarks, they didn't have to slam her to the ground, she was only resisting a little. Is there a scale now there Lenny, one you are teaching to potential clients, resist a little and the cops can't take you to the ground, who determines what the level of resistance there is in the field there Lenny? Did you know she had a knife secreted in her crotch, did you Lenny? Did you know she slipped the cuffs with the explicit intent of stabbing one of the officers there Lenny? (she didn't as far as I know but since you seem to be able to speculate and infer or imply why can't I)

Chuck @ 9/12/2013 4:30 PM

Who knows what her intentions were there Lenny, I do know this if she would have not acted as she did, I am almost 100 percent sure neither of these officers would have removed her from the car and forced her to the ground. Would I have reacted as these officers did, who knows, I don't know what was going on in their minds, I have no idea if they thought she was attacking - going for a weapon - trying to escape, I do know I would be leery of the fact that she did escape from handcuffs, did now have a weapon (handcuffs Lenny in case you didn't understand that part), I think the real reason "you" no longer trust or respect law enforcement is that it probably is not conducive to you making money and earning a living Lenny.

Chuck @ 9/12/2013 4:30 PM

Again, who knows what I would have done in that particular situation, I do know that instead of lumping all L.E. into the badge heavy Neanderthal category and instead of taking it upon yourself to make sure you contacted this officer's bride (fiancé whatever) on her facebook page (I am sure that your fellow defense attorneys approve of your actions), you could wait and see what the outcome of the investigation turns up before spouting off everything you don't know but speculate happened (see that there Lenny, good for the goose good for the gander statement). I am still trying to figure out what your end game was here though, are you looking for a client or just trolling, and yes Lenny I am speculating that you are a defense attorney, you could just be some kind of activist making a living off of the general public or some other far left wing liberal whack job that likes to bash cops, who knows.

ladycop @ 9/12/2013 4:44 PM

I have not viewed the video and cannot yet say whether I agree with the officers' actions. However, I , as a law enforcement officer, cannot, and never will understand, how people can justify the actions of those who evade and fight the police. It's simple, if you don't commit the crime, you won't end up arrested or in jail. If you don't fight the police, you won't end up with your face on the pavement.

Lonnie Davison @ 9/12/2013 4:58 PM

Thank heaven for dashcams. They expose the guilty and exonerate the innocent and provide factual information when someone is inclined to lie. I'll wait for the officers' full story to come out and a full investigation.

Doug M. @ 9/12/2013 5:40 PM

That city commissioner comes across as a cretinous clown. There is nothing here to indicate excess force by the officers. At all times they were professional and clear in their directions. The offender may have been effected enough to call in to question her ability form the mental state, but I have prosecuted plenty of drunk people for the assaults she appears to have committed on the officers. She was told not to touch the officers, and then did what it was again (listening to the audio, one officer says she tried to grab him by the balls, a case similar to one we just prosecuted sucessfully here). Those few seconds look ugly because overcoming resistance is not pretty, but the officers did not lose control of themselves.
I really doubt they thought they injured her, but I suspect she is smaller and more fragile since they had so much trouble getting the cuffs to stay. These officers are being defamed and I hope they have good and aggressive lawyers.

Mikey 436 @ 9/12/2013 5:43 PM

This incident is justified. The woman slipped out of her handcuffs. When they went to put them behind her back, she began to resist. When they went to put them back on her, you can hear one officer say "let go of my hand". She hasn't been searched because there isn't a female there to do that part. This is a clear act of aggression that was dealt with. The commissioner doesn't know this because he isn't a cop. He has never been put in this type of situation. All he does is sit in meetings and criticize officers. Let him do the job if it made him so sick. I don't see him on the front lines where he has to watch as a friend, a co-worker, a husband/wife, someone's child dies for being a good guy. All he does is get paper cuts. When something like this happens its always the police officers that are blamed. Blame the woman!!! She was the one drinking and driving with passengers in her car. She chose to do what she did. And I would have cleared the officers myself. Screw the commissioner!!! Let him do the job once and I bet he will crap his pants. He has no guts!!!!!!!!!!!

dilt @ 9/12/2013 5:45 PM

" If two men can't handle a woman that size they need to find another job, period."

Nailed it Greg.

Capt. Crunch @ 9/12/2013 6:59 PM

The words out of that women's mouth were worst then my DI in booth camp. I say we clean her up and help her get a divorce from her husband and then fix her up with Lenny.Maybe this way Lenny, will know with police have to put up with. Lenny, can also take Greg, along with him on a date for back up. Being that Greg is a tough guy when it comes to women.

Mike557 @ 9/13/2013 6:22 AM

'greg' and "lenny'' ....... get a clue dudes.... probably a GOOD reason why Greg spent only 6 years on the job. and Lenny obviously has cop-issues. that drunk brought that on herself..

Mike557 @ 9/13/2013 6:23 AM

obviously some of these folks commenting have NEVER had to arrest a female who is resisting... speak up when you know what you're talking about.

Marc @ 9/13/2013 7:31 AM

I've had people slip the cuffs on me, especially skinny girls (one even told me "ha-ha, look what I did you dumb f*cking pig" as she held the cuff up) and I agree with Mikey436 that it is an act of aggression. But I'm just wondering if there was a way to handle it besides taking her to the pavement. Maybe a taser drive-stun hit if that is within their departmental policy guidelines? I wasn't there so I'm not going to pass judgement on the officers, I'm just wondering if there could have been a better way to resolve this. I see a really good training moment in this. Let's stop name-calling for a minute (remember folks, Lenny does have a right to his opinion) and try and learn from this. I'm an FTO and I think this will be a good "situation question" for my trainees.

Marc @ 9/13/2013 7:33 AM

Mike557- I agree! Some of the worst scraps I have been in have been with girls- I once caught the heel of a "chunky-shoe" right in the chest (glad I had my vest on!) Girls can be *mean*!

JD @ 9/13/2013 7:55 AM

Wow. Total thug officers. And don't spew that crap that "we work the streets and deal with trash like this for society". You are officers of the law, you have been trained. We safely take people to the ground all the time without the face plant bouncing heads. So you can't place handcuffs properly, you can't restrain properly, so you body slame a 90 pound woman to the pavement. I pray your fired, and she gets about 10 mill from the city.

Capt. Crunch @ 9/13/2013 10:34 AM

3D, if you are a LEO, which I don't beleive you are you probably work in fantasy land. One night I was patrolling in a cage less unit and had arrested a 90 pound female for public intoxication, and placed her in the front seat, she was hancuffed from behind the cuffs were double locked and I put the seat belt on her. She was still able to kick out my front windshield. So if you really are a LEO, I recommend you do not under estimate suspects, it could be very dangerous for you. Have a nice day.

Lenny @ 9/13/2013 9:12 PM

Wow, this story just keeps on giving and giving.
Critical information about the arrest not included in daily reports,
shown only as a routine traffic crash. No mention of arrest or charges.
Spokesmen unwilling to make announcement or answer questions.
Video was withheld from Civilian authorities until after the state prosecutor
began making inquiries and forcing police to release it.
And what' this now the police chief is taking the easy way out and retiring.
Would I be correct in saying that he can now be exempt from having to testify. Well isn't that special!

Greg @ 9/14/2013 2:43 AM

What a bunch of pansies, mike557, capt crunch and marc. Look, if you want to be a police officer, be a police officer. But don't spout this "if they were in our shoes" crap! You bought the ticket, take the ride. You are not going to get any medals. I know from experience that if two men can't handle a woman that size then they should be doing something different, if you disagree then you are either weak also or don't have immediate knowledge.

Doug M. @ 9/14/2013 5:43 PM

Lenny, you clearly don't know what you don't know, and I hope you have put aside assets for the suit you'll lose over the stuff you said you did with the comments to the officer's fiance. You clearly are way out of your lane - the Chief's retirement does not change his obligation to respond if subpoenaed, and your complete lack of knowledge of use of force law is at least as bad as my ignorance of nuclear physics.
The officers handled her just fine; her apparent bad luck or fragility is just too bad. Greg and JD are out of their lanes, just like Lenny. The allegations made against these officers are not only frivolous, but knowingly so. As for the tape not getting to the prosecutor promptly, trust me, I have to deal regularly with agencies that mess up discovery that way. It's a pain in the butt, and wrong, but not a sign of misconduct in a run of the mill arrest and use of force. I am not sure why the prosecutor has not filed the felonies; I have filed and tried cases like this.

R. Hillsman @ 9/15/2013 9:17 PM

WOW. from what I viewed there certainly were enough officers available for this to have happened a different way (5+ officers incl. female and supervisor/corporal?) Also unfortunate this was how exchange students view firsthand American LE. Also appears an FTO is training a new officer? Corp. does good job getting statements from riders, but the more impt. issue was the DK suspect. Car extraction=cell extraction and ea. officer should have been assigned an extremity and no injuries would have occurred. Once injured paramedics should have been called and officers prior to extraction should be gloved (fecal matter/blood have bad things (hep. C, HIV, etc. in them)) Not the best day for a number of these officers. As a former LEO now a trauma ctr. M. D. I've seen this too many times (esp. in LV) Wish it had been handled better!

R. Hillsman @ 9/15/2013 9:17 PM

WOW. from what I viewed there certainly were enough officers available for this to have happened a different way (5+ officers incl. female and supervisor/corporal?) Also unfortunate this was how exchange students view firsthand American LE. Also appears an FTO is training a new officer? Corp. does good job getting statements from riders, but the more impt. issue was the DK suspect. Car extraction=cell extraction and ea. officer should have been assigned an extremity and no injuries would have occurred. Once injured paramedics should have been called and officers prior to extraction should be gloved (fecal matter/blood have bad things (hep. C, HIV, etc. in them)) Not the best day for a number of these officers. As a former LEO now a trauma ctr. M. D. I've seen this too many times (esp. in LV) Wish it had been handled better!

George McConnell @ 9/15/2013 11:15 PM

These were poorly trained officers; I have studied martial arts all of my life and there was no need for a takedown like the officer used on a person her size! It's ... She was obviously drunk and had bee placed in the rear of the car why not read her her rights and do the alcohol test at the station?
No need to inflame a already bad situation by pulling her out of the car again! You had a female officer on site why not let her handle the arrest and interrogation thereby reducing an obviously belligerent perp who was female? Your lack of listening skills is astounding for a police officer! Both of you should be placed on desk duty until properly trained!

Doc @ 9/21/2013 1:30 AM

That Commissioner tossed Both of those officers right under the bus publicly, Before the investigation was complete. That alone could cause the City to lose any case that they would have to get rid of an officer, even if they did violate policy. In this case, I saw her hand reach out in an attempt to grab an officer in the groin. She did cause this entire incident, and even defecated she was resisting so hard, I've had them do that before. A dose of pepper spray would have been nice, but if someone had grabbed my groin, I may have done the same. Let the investigation be completed, I just hope it's fair for everyone. Some people think that they can do what they want and not get arrested for it, and others make excuses for them. That Commissioner needs to be Fired, what is he going to do when an officer gets killed and the city gets sued because of his Mouth speaking before he knows the facts. If the officers did anything wrong, the other officers didn't report it, it smells like BS.

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