‘Live PD’ Cop Joseph Mercado Arrested After Alleged Sex-Related Incident

The sheriff's deputy was charged with misdemeanor battery and later fired.

Live PD Joseph Mercado Paco County
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The sheriff's deputy was charged with misdemeanor battery and later fired.

A Live PD-featured sheriff’s deputy is now an ex-deputy following an incident in which he allegedly performed a lewd act in front of a woman in the middle of the night. According to the Tampa Bay Times and several other news outlets, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida revealed this week that it fired Deputy Joseph Mercado, 25, after his subsequent arrest.

Live PD, the popular ride-along show on the A&E Network, currently follows deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office along with other police agencies on real-time night patrol around the country accompanied by embedded videographers. Three-hour episodes air on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Suspects detained usually have one of two reactions to the presence of the cameras: “Why am I being filmed?” or “Am I on Live PD?”

According to a police report, Mercado, who was off duty at the time, allegedly showed up at a woman’s house located in the county on February 15 at about 3 a.m. to discuss what he described as a “serious incident that he witnessed,” WFLA, News Channel 8, detailed.

As they talked in the driveway, Mercado allegedly began masturbating in front of her.

“[Mercado] then used his finger to put semen on the woman above the neckline of her shirt. Authorities say he also tried putting it on the victim’s lips but she pulled away.”

The victim repeatedly asked Mercado to leave, and he did so after she went back inside her residence. Authorities noted that Mercado and the victim were not dating when this occurred.

Investigators arrested Mercado on February 28 for simple battery, a misdemeanor. The Pasco County Jail released the officer the same day after he posted $500 bail.

“Under Florida law, misdemeanor battery is defined as touching or striking someone against their will,” the Times added.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco released a statement to the media this week about the status of the deputy.

“The Pasco Sheriff’s Office ensures discipline is paramount in our organization. The allegations were investigated and he was arrested and terminated.”

A spokeswoman for the department added that “We will terminate on a case-by-case basis. It really depends on the charge. In this case, this was battery. So he was terminated.”

While he was on the force, Pasco Deputy Joseph Mercado cut a video in which he indicated that he wears a badge because he loves the community.

Separately, Live PD marks its 100th episode tonight during which it will accompany eight (rather than the usual six) police departments, including Pasco County in the Tampa area.

The show is hosted from a multi-screen New York City TV control room and studio by legal analyst Dan Abrams along with police reporter Tom Morris Jr. plus a rotating member from one of the featured agencies. They provide commentary and updates as the show jumps from state to state often before each incident is fully resolved.

Live PD deputy Joseph Mercado fired in Pasco County FL
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Fans of the extremely addicting reality TV program in “Live PD Nation” are well aware that Live PD has shown America some wild encounters, including police car pursuits, foot chases, and grappling with suspects, along with quirky and humorous, and sometimes mundane, interactions with the citizenry. Many of the cops who are on camera have engaging personalities, which may or may not explain why they were chosen. They also often have a highly developed sense of whether the person being questioned or detained is on the level or not.

When nothing much happens at a particular juncture in the live broadcast, Live PD reverts to pre-taped segments that are designated as incidents that happened “earlier.” Live PD reruns are in heavy rotation on A&E (Live PD Rewind) and also with non-narrated footage similar to Cops called Live PD: Police Patrol.

In a more serious kind of addiction, Live PD depicts DUI traffic stops and the associated field sobriety tests. Despite all the constructive vocations and avocations that one can pursue in contemporary life, many of those detained of all ages in various investigations unfortunately seemed to be hooked on hard drugs.

Moreover, given the momentum behind legalizing or de-criminalizing marijuana, driving while buzzed also appears to be a growing problem.

Apart from those motorists who drive with suspended or revoked licenses, expired registrations, or no insurance, a new and unique trend evident on Live PD is a subject who claims to possess a valid driver’s license or other form of ID but for some reason doesn’t carry it on his or her person.

Live PD concludes at midnight Eastern time, but it seems quite likely that it could generate a huge online audience if A&E kept the cameras rolling.