This is a photograph of Christina West after she was subdued by Tallahassee police officers during an Aug. 10 arrest on a charge of DUI. / Leon County court records
- By Greg Angel
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – It was the arrest of a suspected drunk driver that made headlines across the country and Monday we learned several Tallahassee Police officers have been suspended.
Dash cam video shows the August 10, 2013 arrest of Christina West. She was accused of drunk driving, losing control of her van, and then crashing into a bedroom in a home in the Killearn neighborhood.
Officers had faced scrutiny for their handling of West during the arrest. During her arrest, police say she slipped out of her handcuffs and dash cam video shows officers eventually slamming her onto ground.West sustained a broken orbital bone along with scrapes and bruises to her body.
On November 12, a Leon County grand jury ruled officer’s did nothing to warrant criminal charges, however the grand jury is asked the Tallahassee Police Department to follow it’s own procedures, specifically requiring the police to use the least amount of force as necessary. They also recommended the officers to be retrained in communication skills and also better assess the size of the person and be able to identify the most appropriate way to restrain them.
Monday, Tallahassee Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division released their 420 page investigation report which includes disciplinary action for four members of the department.
The report concluded the following:
Officer Chris Ormerod was found to be in violation of rules of conduct during the arrest of Ms. West, failing to provide appropriate medical aid to Ms. West and improper documentation in his original report. He received a suspension without pay for 80 hours.
Officer Matthew Smidt was found to be in violation of rules of conduct during the arrest of Ms. West and for failing to provide appropriate medical aid to Ms. West. He received a suspension without pay for 40 hours.
Sergeant George Creamer was found to be in violation of standard operating procedure in this case, as he did not question the officers in his charge about Ms. West’s injuries. He was also reprimanded for not providing medical treatment to Ms. West. He received a suspension without pay for 20 hours.
Sergeant William Faust was found to be in violation of standard operating procedure in this case, as he did not question officers who were on scene about Ms. West’s injuries. He was also reprimanded for not providing medical treatment to Ms. West and for failing to correct missing information in Officer Ormerod’s original report. He received a suspension without pay for 20 hours.
“This report provides a very thorough and detailed accounting of what took place during the arrest of Ms. West, with almost 30 individuals interviewed and all of the facts provided,” said Interim Police Chief Tom Coe. “Based on initial findings and this report, we have already made and will continue to make changes in our training, as well as ensuring our officers understand that their words and actions represent our entire department. Even in stressful situations, we must demonstrate quality and professionalism in every action. The suspensions I have implemented address that issue as well as several policy revisions related to prompt medical assistance and report writing.”
VIDEO: Full dash cam video of the arrest