A Florida police sergeant who was caught on video grabbing a female officer by the throat now faces criminal charges over the altercation, prosecutors announced.
Sunrise police Sgt. Christopher Pullease on Wednesday was hit with counts of felony battery on a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence, assault on a law enforcement officer and assault on a civilian, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
The incident unfolded on Nov. 19, 2019, when police were called to a Stop & Save convenience store in Sunrise for a report of a suspect, Jean Bernard Similien, who had physically attacked several people outside the market.
The suspect had been handcuffed and placed into a cruiser when Pullease pointed pepper spray at him, but did not use it, officials said.
The unidentified female officer, then 28 years old, ran to Pullease and yanked him by the belt away from the suspect, the body camera video that was released in January showed.
Pullease turned and put his left hand on her throat before shoving her back against another police cruiser.
Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa described Pullease’s behavior at the time as “disgusting” and condemned his actions during the arrest.
“I find it to be inappropriate and unprofessional, because what he did is he escalated the situation when calm was actually required,” the chief said.
Rosa praised the female cop, who by then has only been with the department for 2 1/2 years, for stepping in.
“I’m very proud of this police officer. She took some definitive action. I can only imagine what she must be feeling. She’s a newer officer, and he’s a very senior sergeant,” the top cop said.
Pullease has been on paid administrative leave throughout the course of the internal investigation.
He was released from the Broward County jail on Wednesday night. If convicted as charged, Pullease, 47, could face more than 11 years in prison.
The 21-year veteran of the department had been placed on desk duty last November, five days after the altercation.
With Post wires