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‘Beats Inmates and Thinks It’s Funny’: Florida Jail Guard Charged with Felony Assault In ‘Unprovoked’ Attack That Left Handcuffed Black Man Needing 20 Stitches

A St. Lucie County deputy has been arrested on charges using excessive force on an inmate detained in the South Florida county’s jail. The sheriff’s office determined the attack on the man was “unprovoked” and had no justifiable cause.

Deputy Brian Casey Shackley, 34, has been suspended without pay over his use of force against a handcuffed 54-year-old Black man on Sunday, July 10 at the jail on North Rock Road. The investigation was swift after the sheriff’s office received a complaint on Monday, July 18, about the abuse.

Beats Inmates and Thinks It's Funny': Florida Jail Guard Charged with Felony Assault In 'Unprovoked' Attack That Left Handcuffed Black Man Needing 20 Stitches
Video screenshot of deputy during attack on inmate (TCPalm Newspapers)

Video captured Shackley slamming the man on the floor in what is called a “shoulder lock takedown,” opening a large gash on his forehead. Doctors administered 20 stitches, 10 internal and 10 external, to the inmate with hopes of helping to heal the man’s visible wounds.

The investigation unpacked claims a “deputy at this jail that beats inmates and thinks it’s funny.” After three days of review, detectives determined Shackley should be charged with felony battery, taking him from the position of guarding jail cells to being behind them.

A veteran on the force, Treasure Coast Palm News reports, Shackley had already had a troubled career with the sheriff’s office. He joined in April 2007 and ten years later was promoted to sergeant. However, during his probationary period, he failed “to meet probationary standards,” and was demoted back to being a deputy.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara told reporters at a July 21 news conference that the captain over Shackley said he “had concerns about his interpersonal skills, his field performance, his investigative skills, his leadership, and his management skills.”   

“He also had an incident where he inappropriately discussed some personal affairs with subordinate staff as a sergeant,” Mascara said. “The captain during the probation felt that he had violated enough of our policies that he did not want him to continue as a sergeant at the Department of Detention.” 

Mascara condemned Shackley’s actions, calling them “terrible.”

He said during a news conference where he shared the report with the public, “As you can imagine, as Sheriff this is one of the toughest things we have to do, but it is important that we do do it.”

“The inmate is handcuffed and then removed from the cell, brought between the cell and the pod, and thrown on the ground in an unprovoked attack,” Mascara detailed.

During the brief, he shared that there were 1,181 inmates in the jail and that all should receive the same level of respect that the general public does from officers.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Brian Hester gave insight on the incident, saying the inmate, whose name has not been released, was there on pending drug charges since April. He had requested a cell change because his toilet didn’t work and because of an issue with his leg, he could not get up onto the top bunk in the cell he was assigned to. 

Hester said, “climbing in and out of the top bunk just didn’t work for him.”  

The official said the man had told deputies he was going a call to his family about what he saw as his mistreatment when Shackley attacked him.

Mascara said, “This change of moving him should have been made without question, and without controversy and without violence. Simple as that.” 

“We do not train our deputies to respond this way, we train our deputies alternative methods to prevent this type of response. As sheriff, as chief deputy, these incidents just tear to the fiber of what we’re about. This is not what we’re about,” he continued.

Shackley has been released on a $50,000 bond.

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