Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christopher Johnson, a Broward County sheriff's deputy who dragged a shackled woman down a courthouse hallway, just became the latest cop to learn the hard way that cameras are everywhere

Broward County Sheriff's deputy Christopher Johnson
drags inmate Dasyl Jeanette Rios down a courthouse 
hallway on Monday.
Photo by Bill Gelin. 

Christopher Johnson has been with the Broward County Sheriff's office since 1988.

Yesterday, Johnson became the latest South Florida cop to learn the hard way that everyone has a camera.

In this case, the person with the camera was attorney Bill Gelin, who also writes for the JAABlog, a muckraking Broward County Courthouse blog.

Here's what happened, according to the Sun-Sentinel's Rafael Olmeda:
A veteran Broward Sheriff's deputy who dragged a mentally incompetent woman through a courthouse hallway by the shackles around her ankles is now on restricted duty.
Johnson was recorded pulling Dasyl Jeanette Rios, 28, by the chain binding her feet together on the third floor of the Broward courthouse Monday morning.
According to witnesses, Rios was in court before Broward Judge Kal Le Var Evans for a mental competency hearing on a misdemeanor case. She is also being held without bond in the Broward Main Jail for violating probation on a felony drug possession case.

In a written report to her supervisor, Assistant Public Defender Rhonda Boettcher said Rios had been declared incompetent and, after her hearing was over, was heard arguing with a female deputy in the courtroom. Johnson interceded and escorted Rios into the hallway, Boettcher said. Once there, Rios sat on a bench and started to cry.

Assistant Public Defender Lynn DeSanti, who is married to Gelin, said she saw Johnson say "Get up, we're leaving." When Rios wouldn't get up, Johnson got physical, DeSanti said.

"He basically picked up this girl, yanked her off the bench, and started dragging her through the hallway," she said. "I said 'Stop it! What are you doing to her?' But he just told her, 'You don't want to walk? I'm going to drag you.'"

Olmeda reports "Broward Sheriff Scott Israel issued a statement six hours later questioning Johnson's conduct."
"I am concerned by the way the deputy handled this situation, because there were other courses of action he could have taken," Sheriff Scott Israel said. "Internal Affairs has initiated a complete and comprehensive investigation, and the deputy has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome."


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