A high-ranking Florida cop has been charged with assaulting a female colleague during a recent arrest. The veteran officer strangled another officer for breaking rank and file and attempting to deescalate a situation involving a handcuffed suspect being threatened with pepper spray by the sergeant.
Following an investigation, the Broward State Attorney’s Office issued a statement on Wednesday, July 20, charging Sgt. Christopher Pullease of the Sunrise Police Department with four criminal counts, including felony battery on a law enforcement officer, felony tampering with evidence, misdemeanor assault on a law enforcement officer, and misdemeanor assault on a male civilian, Jean Bernard Similien.
On Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, the 47-year-old was accused of intentionally touching and/or striking “the female police officer against her will, assaulting her by holding pepper spray up to her face, and assaulting the civilian male by holding pepper spray up to his face.”
Previously, Chief Anthony Rosa discussed the layered incident, stating that officers were dispatched to a Sunset Strip convenience store to investigate reports of Similien hitting people outside the business.
The officers on the scene attempted to get the man inside the patrol car, but he resisted, prompting Pullease to approach and engage “in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional.”
“This supervisor escalated the encounter instead of de-escalating an emotionally charged situation,” said the chief of police. Audio from the officers’ body cameras backed up his assessment.
According to Law & Crime, the suspect said on the audio, which is no longer available to the public, “If you’re going to mace me, mace me.”
Pullease retorts, “I will remove your [censored] soul from your [censored] body.”
It also captured the other officer attempting to pull him away from the suspect after things became tense.
A still from the video, which was captured by a police bodycam and made public by SPD, shows him violently grabbing her by the throat.
“His behavior disgusts me,” Rosa said in an interview. “I believe that the video speaks for itself.”
Parts of the footage were released by News 7.
Five days after the incident, Pullease was placed on paid administrative leave.
If found guilty, Pullease, who has worked for the department for 21 years, faces up to five years in state prison for the crimes against the officer and approximately two months for assaulting the man.
But wait, there’s more. On Jan. 19, just days after the bodycam footage was released, the sergeant is suspected of attempting to tamper with evidence on his cellphone. If he is convicted of this crime, he will face “a maximum possible penalty is five years in state prison.”
On Thursday, July 21, Pullease was released on bond. He rushed past reporters in a white hoodie, hoping to get a comment about his behavior and the charges.
As of this writing, there is no attorney listed to represent the sergeant in court records.