Tampa, Florida, police officer Gregory Damon fired for dragging woman

Tampa, Florida, police officer Gregory Damon fired for dragging woman


A Tampa officer has been fired after physically dragging a woman into jail, the city’s police department said Tuesday.

According to a news release from the police department, an internal investigation found that Officer Gregory Damon violated department policies while booking a woman at the jail. The department released body camera and security camera footage of the Nov. 17 incident.

The woman was arrested after sleeping outside the doctor’s office and wouldn’t leave when employees told her to, according to the news release. The department did not identify the woman, who was unharmed, but wrote that she had previously been warned about trespassing on the same property a month earlier.

The footage begins with Damon arresting the woman. It shows her saying, “Go 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 the patrol vehicle and go to the booking area. She screamed, “I want you to drag me!” and Damon did, the footage shows. She responded with vulgarity and Damon “made rude and derogatory comments to the detainee,” according to the press release.

Video footage shows the woman telling Damon that he is not strong enough to lift her. He shoots back, “Yeah, because you’re fat as — ,” then using a word that was redacted by the department.

The video ends with a wide shot showing him being dragged across the concrete floor of a parking lot.

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The police department revised its policy on handling uncooperative people in 2013 after a similar incident, according to the news release. The revised version specifically tells officers not to pull someone over and instead seek help from booking staff.

“Professionalism is not only expected, but required, in every encounter our officers have with the public, regardless of whether the arrestee is uncooperative or unpleasant in return,” Tampa Police Interim Chief Lee Bercaw wrote in the news release.

Damon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bercaw is serving as interim chief because the previous chief, Mary O’Connor, resigned this month after violating multiple department policies when she used her leadership position to get out of a traffic stop in a nearby jurisdiction. O’Connor was caught on video asking an officer to “let us go” after she and her husband were pulled over for using an untagged golf cart.

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Bercaw wrote that the actions of Damon, who had been a patrol officer with the department since August 2016, were unacceptable.

“The actions of one individual should not tarnish the work of the nearly 1,000 officers who protect and serve our city, who, every day, encounter people who choose not to cooperate during the arrest and booking process,” he wrote. “However, they do not allow that individual’s actions to prevent them from following established security policies and procedures.”

Tampa is the third largest city in Florida, after Jacksonville and Miami. The greater Tampa metro area is home to more than 3 million people.

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