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Caught on Video: Tampa Officer Fired After Dragging Homeless Woman with Mental Health Issues Into Jail: ‘She Ain’t Walking’

The Tampa Police Department has fired a police officer videotaped dragging a handcuffed detainee across the ground into jail.

The ex-cop was released because he violated a nearly decade-old law forbidding officers from dragging suspects, even uncooperative, on the ground during an arrest.

Tampa officer drags woman
Former Tampa police officer Gregory Damon drags woman into county jail. (Photos: Screenshots from police footage)

The TPD released former officer Gregory Damon from his duties with the force on Tuesday, Dec. 27, after an internal investigation determined he violated “multiple department policies while booking an inmate into the Orient Road Jail” on Nov. 17.

A statement from the department said Damon violated “departmental policies related to: Searching, Transporting, and Booking of Prisoners; Courtesy to the Public; Reporting Response to Resistance; Treatment of Persons in Custody; and Standard of Conduct” and “was found to have additionally violated policies related to Body Worn Camera, Response to Resistance, and Incompetence.”

Interim Police Chief Lee Bercaw said, “Professionalism is not only expected, it is demanded, in every encounter our officers have with the public, regardless of the arrestee being uncooperative or unpleasant in return. As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard.”

On the day of the incident, Damon and other officers responded to a call to the Tampa Family Health Center because the facility reported that a person was sleeping outside the property and refused to leave. When they arrived, the officers encountered a woman on the premises, who just a month ago, on Oct. 19, had been warned about trespassing on the same property.

The individual was arrested for trespassing, placed in Damon’s vehicle, and transported to jail by Damon.

Body camera footage captured her yelling at the officer, “I want you to drag me!”

“Come on. Walk to my car,” the officer says. “Walk to my car.”

“Why you saying that but pulling me?” she asks. So, go on ahead and drag me because that’s what you’re doing anyway.”

When they arrived at the jail, the woman refused to get out of his patrol vehicle so that she could be escorted to central booking.

Damon, who was hired around seven years ago, grabbed the woman by her arm and dragged her from the police crusader to the entrance of the jail “where he then buzzed the door entrance, prompting two deputies to come outside and assist with raising the individual from the ground and beginning the jail intake process” around 10:19 a.m.

The woman can be heard using obscene and vulgar language during the process. She taunted the officer as he dragged her across the parking lot.

“I grew up with officers doing dumb sh–” she said.

“She ain’t walking, so I can drag her in,” Damon told staff waiting at the entrance of the jail.

Despite the woman not being injured by the encounter, the officer still was found out of line by his actions and how easily he “made rude and derogatory comments to the arrestee.” The key violation was the improper act of dragging the woman.

“Because officers don’t break the law,” the woman pokes at Damon.

“None,” Damon replies.

According to the TPD, in 2013, the department revised its policy on handling uncooperative prisoners, placing “specific language” into the new manual warning officers that dragging citizens, even suspects, “is never an appropriate practice.” Instead, it offered a solution, instructing the officers to contact the booking staff or another law enforcement professional and request assistance. Detention deputies would then assist the officer, helping to lift the suspect from the transport vehicle, place them in a restraining chair, and then roll into the intake area.

Damon did not contact anyone. However, supervisors at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the county detention facilities, complained about the former officer’s actions, prompting the TPD Professional Standards Bureau to open an investigation into the incident a day after it occurred.

TPD placed Damon on suspension until the investigation was complete.

During the incident review, authorities received surveillance and body-worn video of Damon’s actions, “which led to no clear reasoning for why a violation of procedure would have been justified.”

This led the department to terminate Damon from the force.

“The actions of one individual should not tarnish the work of the nearly 1,000 officers protecting and serving our city who, on any given day, encounter people who choose to be uncooperative during the arresting and booking process; however, they do not let the actions of that individual deter them from following the policies and procedures put in place for safety,” Bercaw said.

“This former officer’s actions were unacceptable and are not tolerated at this department, which is why we acted swiftly in initiating an internal investigation, relieving him of his duties, and ultimately terminating his employment,” he added.

TDP did not release the name of the woman to the public, however, jail booking records show the woman was 46 years old and only had an address to a Tampa homeless shelter. According to the booking notes, Tampa Bay Times reports the woman was released days after being booked and taken to a mental health facility.

She still faces a trespassing charge.

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