A detention deputy in Florida has been fired after surveillance video filmed him kicking an inmate he forced to do pushups as punishment for giving a cookie to a bird, according to reports.
The incident occurred Jan. 11 at the Pinellas County Jail after Mario Christo, an inmate on kitchen duty, tossed a piece of cookie from the trash to a bird sitting on a dumpster, according to Bay News 9.
James Moran, the deputy supervising the inmates, apparently felt that Christo had violated some rule and ordered him to do 50 pushups.
When Christo couldn’t do all 50, Moran allegedly kicked him in the ribs.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Orlando Sentinel that Moran’s actions are some of the “stupidest” he’s seen while on the job:
I’m kind of speechless on it because it is so ridiculous. It is so outside the bounds. It is such misconduct. Anybody and everybody out there knows that we don’t treat people this way. We don’t treat inmates this way. It is so contrary to what we do and the obligation we have regarding the care, custody and control of people.
It doesn’t matter who they are. It doesn’t matter where they are. Nobody, nobody deserves to be told ‘get on the ground and give me 50’ using profanity for simply giving a cookie that’s going in the trash to a bird. It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.
And then, then when the guy is clearly exhausted, he walks up and kicks him in the side. People don’t need to be treated that way, they shouldn’t be treated that way and we’re going to take swift and effective action and he’s going to be dealt with accordingly.
Christo at the time of the incident was reportedly serving a 364-day sentence for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.
Although Christo did not seek medical attention, he said his side hurt for days. However, fearing retribution, he waited until last Tuesday after he was released from jail to report the abuse, according to WTVT TV.
Detectives investigating the matter quickly found surveillance video that clearly showed Moran kick Christo.
As a result, the six-year department veteran was immediately fired and arrested on a misdemeanor count of battery. A second deputy is under investigation for witnessing the act but not reporting it.
Moran has been charged with a single count of simple battery, according to WTSP. Gualtieri told reporters that Moran admitted it was not the first time he’s forced inmates to do pushups.