TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa police officer was terminated Tuesday after a video showed him dragging a woman into jail last month.
The Tampa Police Department said Gregory Damon was terminated after an internal investigation determined he had violated multiple departmental policies while booking an inmate into the Orient Road Jail.
On Nov. 17, police said they were called to the Tampa Family Health Center on North 22nd Street because a woman was reportedly sleeping outside the property and refusing to leave.
Officers said the woman was previously given a warning for trespassing on the same property in October. She was arrested and taken to jail by Damon, the department said.
When they arrived at the Orient Road Jail, the woman refused to get out of the patrol car and walk into central booking. Instead, police said the woman yelled at the officer “I want you to drag me!”
Tampa police said Damon took the woman by the arm, dragging her from the vehicle to the entrance of the jail. Damon then buzzed the door entrance and two deputies came to help by raising the woman from the ground and beginning the jail intake process.
Police said the woman was not hurt during the incident.
Throughout the incident, investigators said the woman repeatedly used vulgar and obscene language and Damon made rude and derogatory comments to her.
Police said the correct procedure would have been for Damon to request assistance from the booking staff.
The police department said it was made aware of Damon’s actions through supervisors at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the county detention facilities.
“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,” said Interim Police Chief Lee Bercaw. “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. 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.”
Police said Damon had been with the department since August 2016.