The following, originally posted at LiveLeak.com, was submitted by PSOSGT.
Two Seminole County Sheriff’s Office deputies were kicked off the force after a turbulent traffic stop that was caught on the officers’ dashboard camera.
In a stinging rebuke, Sheriff Don Eslinger said deputies Erik Ducharme and Chris Clutter not only acted inappropriately at the scene but also lied and put the lives of others in danger with their irresponsible actions. Dashcam video from a May 19 traffic stop in Sanford shows the deputies getting out of their vehicles with a shotgun and Taser drawn. They immediately begin screaming and using profanity at the men in the car, who they pulled over on an alleged seatbelt violation. The men in the car said they were, in fact, wearing seat belts and did nothing to provoke the stop or what took place after.
The deputies claimed the driver did not stop right away after they started running their lights and sirens, but an internal investigation and the dashcam video showed that was not true. In the video, it does not appear that the men in any way threatened the deputies. At one point, Clutter shocked the driver with a Taser without warning. Investigative reports released on Monday included a statement from another officer who said he was in the line of fire and that things were so out of control he feared he was about to get shot by his own zone partner. Eslinger fired the deputies on Monday, and in a sharply worded notice of discipline stated, “You exercised poor judgment in the escalating levels of force you used as compared to the resistance offered by the occupants of the car. Your conduct at the scene was compounded by the dishonesty in your characterization of the incident in your report further demonstrating a lack of regard for the policies and procedures of this agency.”Both deputies had been with Seminole County for less than three years. Neither had been disciplined before.