LARGO - Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on Monday fired a detention deputy for smacking a handcuffed inmate and taking him to the floor, in what was the third time in nine months a deputy accused of manhandling an inmate at the county jail has been sacked.
Deputy Richard Stotts had no reason to slap and tackle the inmate, David Koons, the sheriff said. Though Koons was belligerent, yelling racial slurs, among other things, as he was booked into the jail on May 8, he was handcuffed to a belly band around his middle and, therefore, posed no threat, the sheriff said.
Koons was not injured in the incident.
Stotts at one point claimed he thought he saw Koons move his head as he approached him, - perhaps to head-butt the deputy - but the sheriff said he didn't believe him. Stotts eventually admitted he lost control of himself.
"When you lose your temper, when you lose your cool, you're not going to be a Pinellas County deputy any more," Gualtieri said at a press conference.
Koons is not cooperating with investigators, so the sheriff's office is not expected to charge Stotts with a crime, Gualtieri said.
At the time of the incident, Koons was being brought in on charges, filed by Clearwater police, of battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer with violence.
On June 14, Gualtieri fired Deputy Elizabeth Kretzer after Kretzer grabbed the sweatshirt of a female inmate who had made a rude gesture to Kretzer, dragged her into a room, and slapped her in the face, records show. The dispute in December stemmed from an argument over a breakfast tray.
Kretzer also lied about what happened, according to the sheriff's office.
In October, Gualtieri fired Detention Deputy Desmond Quinn after Quinn grabbed an inmate and threw him to the floor on May 26, 2012, according to documents.
Quinn told internal affairs investigators that a drunken driving suspect was about to spit in his face, so he grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground, the documents say.