CLEARWATER, FL (Gray News) – A sheriff’s deputy lost his job at the Pinellas County Jail this month and it all started with a cookie.
Inmate Mario Christo tossed one from the garbage to a bird while on kitchen duty.
Deputy James Moran didn’t like that and ordered Christo to “drop” and give him 50 push-ups, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. The entire incident can be seen in a three-minute surveillance video from the jail.
“Nobody deserves to be told to get on the ground and give me 50, using profanity for simply giving a cookie that’s going into the trash to a bird,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen."
Christo stopped after about 20 push-ups because he was tired.
That’s when Moran went over to Christo and kicked him on the “right side of his torso.”
The incident took place on Jan. 11 but wasn’t reported by Christo until April 23, a week after he got out of jail.
“Christo said he never reported the incident while he was an inmate at the jail for fear of retribution,” the press release said. “No injury was ever reported as a result of the incident, but Christo said his side hurt for several days.”
At the time, Christo was serving a 364 sentence at the jail on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting an officer without violence, and resisting an officer with violence.
Because the surveillance video corroborated Christo’s allegations, Moran was arrested for battery and terminated.
“I’m kind of speechless on it because it’s so ridiculous,” Gualtieri said. “It is so outside the bounds. It is such misconduct. Anybody and everybody out there knows we don’t treat people this way,"
The entire sheriff’s press conference is below