Paige Taylor, 26, was a passenger in Gage Moore’s truck, when a sheriff’s deputy pulled the truck over for having the wrong license plate attached. According to Bay News 9, Moore, 25, was driving on a suspended license, and switched places with Taylor before Deputy Wayne Wagner arrived.
Dep. Wagner collected Taylor’s license, and placed Moore under arrest for being a repeat offender. He told Taylor that the truck needed to be impounded, and that she would have to find her own way home from the Mobil Gas Station at Fourth St. and Gandy Blvd. Taylor pleaded with him to allow her to have the vehicle towed so that she wouldn’t end up stranded at the gas station, but according to her, “he just didn’t care. He was just like, ‘figure out a way home and I’m taking the vehicle.'”
The report says that Dep. Wagner told Moore to call a cab or have someone pick her up.
Moore asked for her license back, and Wagner asked her to exit the vehicle. According to the report, “[as Moore] exited the vehicle, she immediately slammed the door and aggressively approached me. Paige then ripped her driver’s license out of my hands, and with her right hand, shoved me.” Wagner arrested her, and she was charged with felony battery of a law enforcement officer.
But prosecutors reviewed high-definition surveillance video from the Mobil station, and according to Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett, “the video doesn’t show a clear touch.”
“The deputy was a little overaggressive in taking her down and the case didn’t have jury appeal.”
Taylor’s attorney, Chris Beardslee, agrees.
“There’s no approach. She comes out of the truck and she walks past him. She’s a full step past him. If he’s saying the door being slammed is an approach that’s a little strange. As she steps past him, she takes the license but her hand didn’t touch his hand. There’s no shove. You can see the officer crystal clear. His body doesn’t move back, he doesn’t lose his balance, his heels don’t move. His body doesn’t move at all.”
Wagner’s response was an aggressive takedown.
“He slammed me to the ground pretty bad and I actually went face first,” said Taylor. “I really don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Especially, someone who’s innocent, like myself.”
“I didn’t touch him at all. I was really worried but I knew that deep down inside that I didn’t touch him.”
According to Black Matters U.S., the video shows Wagner grabbing Taylor, throwing her to the ground, piling on top of her and handcuffing her. Later on, it shows Wagner telling another deputy that Taylor punched and pushed him in order to justify his actions.
The case against Taylor was dismissed last month by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s office after reviewing the surveillance video.
Taylor’s father is a federal law enforcement officer, and Taylor herself has no prior record. At the time of the incident, she was dating Moore; they are no longer seeing each other, and Taylor says that they were breaking up that night. Moore has been charged with 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to driving on a revoked license.
But Taylor would like to see Wagner disciplined for assaulting her and held accountable for his lies. SPPD Sergeant Spencer Gross confirmed that the police department had received a complaint about Wagner from Beardslee, but refused to comment further.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]