A Florida sheriff’s deputy who was still in his probationary period when he was seen on film repeatedly punching a detained teenager has now been terminated.
On June 25, Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy Kevin Fanti was captured delivering five blows onto a handcuffed 19-year-old at the Broward County Jail. Surveillance footage released from the BSO showed Fanti did so after Kyle Paul dropped the paperwork he held between his knees and kicked it toward Fanti. In the soundless footage, two other deputies approach Paul to separate him from Fanti.
Afterward, Fanti picks up the papers and shoves them on Paul’s chest. Then, he rears his right arm back and began punching Paul several times, mostly in the face. Paul falls to the ground and curls up; it takes a U.S. marshal approaching to keep Fanti from continuing to strike the teen. After appearing to cower for a few more seconds, Paul gets himself up on his feet with Fanti looking directly at him.
The sheriff’s office told the Sun-Sentinel that Fanti was hired in April 2018, and his probationary period ran through the start of October. However, he wound up fired over failing to meet the probationary standards of a deputy sheriff, according to the department.
During a Friday, July 12, press conference, Sheriff Gregory Tony confirmed Fanti had been terminated. Newsweek reported Tony learned of Fanti’s actions Thursday and acted immediately.
Now, the case is being investigated by the Broward State Attorney’s office for review. Fanti was not arrested and it’s not known what, if any, charges he’ll be up against.
“He has failed to meet the standards that I have for all my deputies, and so he’s been terminated,” says Tony, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January to replace Sheriff Scott Israel after the Republican Florida governor fired Israel over his department’s response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that resulted in 17 deaths in 2018.
“He will not have any opportunity to be interviewed by investigators, because he didn’t deserve it,” Tony said at the news conference.
“The expectations and the standards that are here in this organization now, are at the highest level,” he continues. “As we continue to have incidents pop up, we may have another use-of-force incident that may transpire and it may be questionable. They’re going to be held accountable. When we find things, I will set the precedent as I did today. We will be transparent. If we know it, then the community will know it and then I will act on it. We can’t have this. And so, you will continue to see us step up and hold our own people accountable.”