Omar Rodríguez Ortiz
A South Florida police sergeant caught on body-cam footage grabbing a fellow officer’s throat during an arrest last year in Broward was charged Wednesday, according to authorities.
Sunrise Sgt. Christopher Douglas Pullease is facing one count of battery on a law enforcement officer, a count of tampering with evidence, assault on a law enforcement officer, and assault on a handcuffed man, the Broward County State Attorney’s Office said Thursday in a news release.
If convicted on all charges, the agency said the 47-year-old man could spend over 11 years in state prison.
Pullease was booked into the Broward Main Jail on Thursday afternoon, the Sun Sentinel reported. Attorney and bond information for Pullease wasn’t available Thursday night.
The Nov. 19, 2021, incident occurred while arresting a man in Sunrise.
Pullease, who has been with the department for more than 21 years, is seen on video arriving on scene as officers were placing a “verbally and physically resistive” male suspect into the backseat of a patrol vehicle for transport to jail, Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa said in January.
The suspect — identified in a police report as Jean Similien, 25, from Sunrise — had been placed under arrest at 1201 Sunset Strip, accused of punching a man in the face four or five times.
“Once the suspect was inside the patrol vehicle, the sergeant approached and engaged in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional,” Rosa said at the time. While speaking to the suspect, the sergeant is seen on footage holding a can of pepper spray. Rosa told WSVN Channel 7 earlier this year that Pullease was pointing it at the handcuffed suspect.
Concerned with things escalating further, an officer approached the sergeant from behind, grabbed him by the back of his duty belt and pulled him backward, Rosa said. The video subsequently shows the sergeant turning around, putting his left hand up against the throat of the 28-year-old officer and pushing her back against a vehicle.
Police have not released the name of the officer — who has been with the department for about three years — because she is a witness, Officer Justin Yarborough, a Sunrise police spokesman, said Thursday.
Pullease is also accused holding a can of pepper spray up to the face of the officer and tampering with evidence in his cellphone in January, the Broward County State Attorney’s Office said in the release.
Pullease has been on administrative leave throughout the course of the investigation.