Deputy Faces Inquiry in Courthouse Dragging

     
(CN) – A sheriff’s deputy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has been placed on restricted duty while his bosses investigate why he dragged a mentally incompetent woman by her ankles through a courthouse.
     The incident, which occurred on the third floor of the Broward County Courthouse Monday morning, was recorded by several individuals with their cell phones, including attorney Bill Gelin, who provided the tape to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.
     Several other recordings of the incident have since been posted on YouTube. They show deputy Christopher Johnson dragging Dasyl Jeanette Rios by a chain that was binding her feet together.
     Rios can be heard on the recording yelling, “Stop, you’re hurting me,” before her screams evolves into sobs and she adds, “I hate my life. I wish they would kill me already. Why do I have to be alive?”
     Hours later, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel issued a written statement in which he said he was concerned by the way the deputy handled the situation.
     “There are other courses of action he could have taken,” the sheriff said. “Internal Affairs has initiated a complete and comprehension investigation, and the deputy has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome.”
     Just before the incident, the Sun Sentinel reported, Rios had been declared mentally incompetent by Judge Kal Le Var Evans during a trespassing and criminal mischief case.
     According to a report written by Assistant Public Defender Rhonda Boettcher, after the hearing ended, Rios began arguing with a female deputy in the courtroom. At that point, Deputy Johnson is alleged to have gotten involved, escorting the woman into a hallway.
     There, Boettcher said, Rios sat on a bench and started to cry. Witnesses told the Florida newspaper that when Rios didn’t respond to being told to get up, Johnson began dragging her down the fall.
     On the tapes Rios can be heard saying “all I wanted to do was sit and cry for a couple of minutes.”
     Johnson, who joined the department in 1988, will not have any further contact with inmates until the investigation concludes, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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