A jaw-dropping video captured a relentless Florida deputy dragging a woman by her feet down the hallway of a courthouse as she screamed in agony. Several officers and bailiffs are seen walking by but did nothing to stop it.
According to Sun Sentinel, 28-year-old Dasyl Jeanette Rios – who’s mentally ill – appeared in Broward County Court on Monday for a “mental competency hearing” in relation to a previous misdemeanor charge. During the hearing, she was reportedly acting out of order by walking away from the jury box, where she was supposed to be seated, and arguing with a female officer.
Attempting to prevent Rios from causing any more commotion during court, Sheriff Officer Christopher Johnston took Rios to the hallway where she, without permission, sat on the bench and began to cry. He allegedly asked Rios to start walking, but she refused. Johnston then proceeded to drag her down the hall, according to the Washington Post.
The public defender’s assistant Lynn DeSanti claims, “He [Johnston] basically picked up this girl, yanked her off the bench, and started dragging her through the hallway. I said ‘Stop it! What are you doing to her?’ But he just told her, ‘You don’t want to walk? I’m going to drag you.’”
In the video, Rios is heard screaming several times for the officer to stop, but the deputy proceeded to drag the woman down the hall, disregarding her safety.
“Stop! You’re hurting me! You’re f—— hurting me! I hate my life! I wish they would kill me already! Why do I have to be alive?”
Johnston released a statement, claiming, “Fearing she would cause a commotion in the public area, I then physically grabbed inmate Rios by her leg restraints and pulled her back to the D10-door.”
The video footage was captured by Attorney Bill Gelvin, who was behind the officer and the inmate the entire time.
“This is really barbaric, and I’m just extremely disappointed,” Gelvin said. “We all work together in the court system, particularly in the criminal justice system, and this just gives everybody a black eye.”
Public defender Howard Finkelstein also commented on the incident.
“This is nothing less than treating a mentally ill patient like she’s a reptile. It’s shameful. I believe a crime was committed. For God’s sake, this is 2015. We don’t drag human beings down the hallway of a public courthouse. A crime has been committed and that deputy should go to jail.”
After Gelvin submitted the jaw-dropping video of Johnston dragging Rios down the hall, it sparked an investigation.
“I am concerned by the way the deputy handled this situation, because there were other courses of action he could have taken,” Sheriff Scott Israel commented in a statement. “Internal Affairs has initiated a complete and comprehensive investigation, and the deputy has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome.”
Rios is currently being held without bond due to a probation violation and drug possession.
[Photo and Video courtesy of Attorney Bill Gelin | JAABlog]