A Florida ranking police officer has been charged for assaulting his female colleague during a recent arrest of a suspect. The veteran officer strangled another officer because she broke rank and file and tried to deescalate a situation involving a handcuffed suspect who was being threatened with pepper spray by the sergeant.
After an investigation, the Broward State Attorney’s Office released a statement saying on Wednesday, July 20, Sgt. Christopher Pullease of the Sunrise Police Department was charged with four criminal counts including felony battery on a law enforcement officer; felony tampering with evidence; misdemeanor assault on a law enforcement officer; and misdemeanor assault on a male civilian, identified as Jean Bernard Similien.
The incidents behind the charges happened on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, when the 47-year-old was said to have intentionally touched and/or struck “the female police officer against her will, assaulting her by holding pepper spray up to her face, and assaulting the civilian male by holding pepper spray to his face.”
Previously, Chief Anthony Rosa spoke about the layered incident, saying officers were called to a Sunset Strip convenience store to address the complaints about Similien hitting people outside the business.
The responding officers attempted to get the man inside the patrol car, but he resisted, prompting Pullease to approach and engage “in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional.”
The chief of police said, “This supervisor escalated the encounter instead of de-escalating an emotionally charged situation.” His assessment was supported by audio from the officers’ body cameras.
Law & Crime reported the audio, which is no longer available to the public, has the suspect saying, “If you’re going to mace me, mace me.”
“I will remove your [censored] soul from your [censored] body,” Pullease retorts.
It also captured the other officer trying to pull him off of the suspect after things got out of hand.
A still from the video, captured by police bodycam released by SPD, also shows him violently grabbing her by her throat.
“I find his behavior to be disgusting,” Rosa said in an interview. “I think the video speaks for itself.”
News 7 released the parts of the footage.
Pullease was placed on paid administrative leave five days after the incident.
Pullease, who has worked 21 years in the department, faces up to five years in state prison for the crimes against the officer and approximately two months for assaulting the man if he is found guilty.
But that is not all. On Jan. 19, days after news broke about the bodycam footage being shared, the sergeant is believed to have tried to tamper with evidence on his cellphone. If he is convicted of this crime, he will face “a maximum possible penalty is five years in state prison.”
Pullease was released on bond on Thursday, July 21. Wearing a white hoodie, he rushed past reporters hoping to get a comment about his conduct and the charges.
Court records do not show an attorney listed to represent the sergeant as of this writing.