A deputy in Bradford County, Florida, resigned from his post with the sheriff’s office after serving in law enforcement for two years. His conduct, including a recent traffic stop where he held a mother at gunpoint in front of her children, was so egregious the agency immediately released a statement distancing itself from the former deputy.
Ebony Washington’s children were in the car when she was pulled over by Deputy Jacob Desue, then serving the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, on Friday, Aug. 12. The mother was stopped for going 72 mph in a 55 mph zone on Highway 301 between Starke and Lawtey Road, First Coast News reports.
Because of his inappropriate behavior during the arrest, the deputy faced a last-straw disciplinary action that forced him to resign.
In this incident, Desue caught Washington speeding and flashed his police lights at her. Because she had three kids in her back seat and was traveling on a poorly lit road, the mother, who was also pregnant at the time, did not immediately stop.
Instead, she says she put on her hazard lights, slowed her speed, and pulled over in a more secure, better lit location.
Action News Jax reported that authorities said only three to five minutes went by from the time the officer signaled for her to stop to when she pulled over, and that Washington did the right thing to signal the officer she had the intention of complying. However, once the woman pulled over, she was immediately met with confrontation.
The patrol car’s dash cam recorded Desue cursing at the woman before he reached her car.
As he approaches the vehicle, she is recorded saying, “Sir, I have my three kids in the car and the reason why I did not stop is, I’m in the middle of nowhere. And my husband tells me not to —”
He interrupts her and says, “Your excuses mean nothing to me right now. I don’t want to hear it.”
At this time, one of the woman’s children started to film the interaction, while another cried and the third called their father and her husband to detail what was happening to their mom.
She is told to get out of her car. When she does, he pulls out his gun on her.
The children are frightened, but the one with the cellphone never stops recording the deputy, and the child on the phone with her father says, “he told her to step out of the vehicle. He just put the handcuffs on her, Dad.”
The little girl cries out, “Mommy!”
Eventually, the deputy puts away his gun and handcuffs Washington. As she tries to plead her case, he barks at her, “I don’t care about the why. Shut up.”
His own bodycam captures his comments as they get more contentious, “You make any movement that will be the last mistake you ever make, do not move.”
Desue followed that statement up with, “I ain’t worried, I got my gun.”
Washington was detained 10 to 15 minutes before Desue’s supervisor arrived on the scene. The superior officer released her, giving her a traffic citation.
The video was posted on social media on Wednesday, Aug. 17 by her husband, Pastor T. Washington, prompting law enforcement to pull all the videos from the officer’s vehicle and his belt.
“HE POINTED HIS GUN AT MY WIFE WHO’S 4 MONTHS PREGNANT and threated to kill her!!! I’m so pissed off tonight!!!!!!! I’m filing a complaint asap! He threatened my wife’s life all because she wanted to stop in a well-lit area while all our kids were inside! Lord help us….Bradford County Sheriff. Lawtey fl #bradfordcountysheriff Officer Desue you finna be in the soup line buddy. SHARE!!!” he wrote.
Once all the videos were reviewed it was determined the manner in which Desue handled the arrest was inappropriate and did not follow the agency’s policies.
This is not the first time Desue has been in trouble.
Bradford County Sheriff’s Office Colonel and Chief Deputy Brad Smith shared with the media written reprimand letters that are evidence of the department’s continued issues with this one deputy.
“The last time we had an issue with him, we entered what’s called a ‘last chance’ agreement and he basically tenders his resignation. And if there’s any more issues within a year, the sheriff can choose to accept that resignation and that’s what happened here,” Smith said in a statementt this week.
“His verbal abuse was intolerable, and we weren’t going to allow that at the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office,” Smith added.
Despite authorities executing immediate disciplinary action, Washington has secured a lawyer to represent her and her traumatized family. Attorney John Phillips issued a statement claiming Desue’s actions were racially charged.
Smith dismissed that notion, saying “the deputy in question is a man of color.”
“There was just some level of not responding to his training and continued conversations about how he was handling situations and he wasn’t adjusting to that,” Smith maintains.
Phillips is not sold and is going forward with finding justice for his clients.
“Ms. Washington has spoken to the Mayor, who indicated prior issues with Desue. We have since learned he has resigned,” he said in a statement to Action News Jax. “Justice is spelled one way but defined many different ways. This is one step towards justice. While Ms. Washington is regretful for speeding, we are all mindful that it led to a public official acknowledging a problem and an aggressive officer resigning.”