JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the second time in less than a month, an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was arrested Saturday, JSO Undersheriff Pat Ivey announced.
Ivey said the agency arrested Officer Timothy James, 38, who has had more than three years of experience with JSO. He is facing one count battery charges following an incident that started at a gas station around the 1900 block of Atlantic Boulevard around 4 a.m.
A patrol sergeant was flagged down by an off-duty JSO recruit who said he had information about two individuals who were wanted in another jurisdiction. During this discussion, a truck pulled up and the JSO recruit said the individuals were in the truck.
The sergeant called for back-up who ended up being Officer James. The officers made contact with the suspects, ran their backgrounds, then detained them after they got a "hit," Ivey said.
Both the suspects, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were handcuffed and placed in Officer James' patrol vehicle. The 18-year-old was identified as Abel Campos from Orlando, according to JSO. First Coast News has chosen not to identify the 17-year-old because he is a minor.
As the sergeant was walking away to his patrol vehicle, he noticed James walking away from the backseat where the suspects were placed. One of the suspects then told the sergeant James had hit him, Ivey said. The sergeant inspected the teen and James, but didn't see any injuries or evidence that the teen had been hit.
The sergeant went back to his vehicle and was proceeding to verify the warrant on the two suspects. When he looked over, Ivey said the sergeant saw James remove the 17-year-old, threw him on the ground and a struggle ensued. Ivey said Campos then got out of the car and hopped on top of James, who then threw the teen to the ground as well. Both the suspects were still in handcuffs, Ivey said.
When the sergeant detained the Campos, he said James "was beating on my brother," Ivey said.
A second cage unit - or the vehicles where police officers transport suspects - was requested. The sergeant told James to put the 17-year-old back in his patrol vehicle while he held Campos.
Ivey said James not only put the 17-year-old in the backseat, but he also got in the car with him and struck him several times in the face with a closed fist. The sergeant repeatedly asks James to stop. The incident was witnessed by the off-duty JSO recruit.
After the second cage unit arrived, Campos was placed in the vehicle. The sergeant immediately called and reported the incident. JSO conducted an investigation and James was arrested before 1 p.m. He was charged with one count of battery.
Ivey said James claims one of the teens spit on him. In response, Ivey denounced James' actions.
"I have been spit on in this job... been bitten, been kicked," Ivey said. "There's an appropriate response. The law allows me to use whatever force is necessary depending on the situation to effect an arrest, to keep people from escaping or of that nature, to enforce the law. But it has to be proportionate to the resistance that you're getting. Somebody trying to spit on you, even if they are successful... he's already handcuffed. We issue spit masks. You have a sergeant there. Coordinate an effort."
Ivey said they are working to see if they can obtain video of the incident.
James' arrest is the seventh JSO employee arrest in 2017.
Watch the press conference below: