Tampa Police Officer terminated after dragging woman and violating departmental policies
An officer was terminated after an internal investigation on Tuesday determined he had violated departmental policies, the Tampa Police Department (TPD) said.
TPD stated that Gregory Damon, a patrol officer with the department since 2016, was in violation of multiple policies.
The release said that on Nov. 17, TPD received a call regarding a woman sleeping outside the Tampa Family Health Center on North 22nd Street who refused to leave despite employees asking her to.
When officers arrived, TPD said the woman had received previous warnings for trespassing at the same property on Oct. 19. Damon arrested the woman for trespassing after warning and transported her to Orient Road Jail.
After arriving at the jail, the woman refused to exit the patrol vehicle. She allegedly yelled at the officer, stating, "I want you to drag me!" Damon then took her by the arm and dragged her from the vehicle to the jail's entrance, buzzing the door's entrance, which notified two deputies who came outside to assist.
The three of them raised the woman from the ground and began the jail intake process. TPD said the woman was uninjured during the incident and that she was using vulgar and obscene language repeatedly. Damon retorted with rude and derogatory comments against the woman.
TPD said that after a similar incident in 2013, they revised their policy regarding the handling of uncooperative individuals, adding specific language to advise officers that "dragging an individual who is uncooperative is never an appropriate practice and, instead, the correct procedure could be to request assistance from the booking staff."
The policy also that detention deputies assist an officer with lifting the person from the transport vehicle and securing them in a restraining chair to roll them into the intake area.
TPD said that Damon failed to follow these established procedures and that they were made aware of his actions through supervisors at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which operates the facilities. The TPD Professional Standards Bureau began investigating the incident on Nov. 18.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, Damon was immediately relieved of his duties, according to TPD. After reviewing both surveillance video and body cam footage that was taken during the incident, as well as an interview with Damon that TPD said "led to no clear reasoning for why a violation of procedure would have been justified," Damon was terminated.
His violations were related to searching, transporting and booking of prisoners, courtesy to the public, reporting response to resistance, treatment of persons in custody and standard of conduct.
They also said that during the investigation, they found Damon had committed other violations, which were related to body-worn camera, response to resistance and incompetence.