A Hillsborough County Deputy was caught on tape dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair when he was being booked into jail. There were three other supervisors in plain view of the incident, but they did nothing.
Investigators say Deputy Charlotte Marshall Jones is suspended without pay after the January 29 incident, which involved 32-year-old Brian Sterner, who is a quadriplegic. Video shows Deputy Jones dumping Sterner out of his wheelchair and onto the floor while she is booking him into the Hillsborough County Jail. The tape also shows the deputy then searching Sterner as he lay on the floor.
Sterner’s arrest was from charges of him fleeing and eluding police enforcement after an incident on October 25, 2007. Also, he was blocking an intersection. Sterner is in permanent need of his wheelchair after a wrestling accident that occurred when he was 18.
The supervisors who were present at the time of the incident have been suspended with pay as well. These supervisors include Corporal Decondra Williams, Corporal Steven Dickie, and Sergeant Gary Hinson. None of these supervisors filed a report or told anyone of the incident.
There will be an investigation of the incident that occurred. The department plans on doing anything it can to make the situation right.
“Certainly all the personnel are entitled to due process under the law, but I can tell you that based on what I saw, anything short of dismissal would be inappropriate,” said Chief Deputy Jose Docobo.
Docobo explained that though Sterner was in a wheelchair, deputies are used to dealing with this type of situation. He said there are currently more than 30 wheelchair patients in the county’s jails, and this is nothing new for deputies.