So, I don’t know if y’all have heard the news in the last 400 years or so, but police are out of control when it comes to how they deal with Black suspects. Their behavior has been atrocious—criminal even. In fact, in Florida, a cop’s zeal in poking his chest out and unleashing his rage on a Black man who was already in handcuffs got so bad that he ended up choking out another cop who tried to intervene. And as much as I want to make an “Oh, what to do about all this blue-on-blue crime?” joke right now, the truth is this was an ugly scene and the cop who tried to stop it, a woman, was a victim of police violence who attempted to deescalate things before a Black man became the same.
According to HuffPost, police officers in Sunrise, Florida, responded to a call about a man accused of attacking people outside a convenience store last November. The suspect, a Black man identified as 25-year-old Jean Similien, according to the Miami Herald, was already cuffed by the time Sgt. Christopher Pullease arrived at the scene, but since officers had apparently struggled to get him in the back of the patrol car, Pullease decided he needed to lose his absolute sh** on the Black man who appeared to already be under control.
Silent body camera footage of the incident was released earlier this year, but recently released footage complete with audio shows what Pullease said to the suspect before grabbing the neck of the female officer who tried to reign him in.
“Hey, hey, look at me. Look at me! You wanna f***ing play fucking games? You’re playing with the wrong motherf***er,” Pullease said to the handcuffed Black man as he entered the patrol car.
“Do what you gotta do, man,” Similien responded. “You gonna Mace me? Mace me.”
Because Pullease is apparently not very good at words, he responded to Similien with pretty much the same sentence he started out with, only with a little extra violent razzle-dazzle at the end.
“Look at me, motherf***er. You wanna play f***ing games? You wanna be disrespectful with my f***ing officers?” Pullease shouted. “I will remove your f***ing soul from your f***ing body.”
It was at that moment that the 28-year-old female officer, a junior cop who had been with the department for about two years, tried to intervene by grabbing the back of Pullease’s belt to pull him out of the car. That’s when the cop who, just moments ago, appeared to be passionately concerned with the disrespecting of his officers, put his hand around the neck of one of those officers because she was trying to do what he should have been doing and deescalate instead of escalating things for seemingly no damn reason.
“What the f***? Don’t ever fucking touch me again,” Pullease shouted while grabbing the throat of the woman who requested she remains anonymous. “Get the f*** off me.”
Pullease then told the officer that he’ll “f***ing see you in about five minutes.” Then shortly after the sergeant went to his car, he came back demanding all officers on the scene “turn off their fucking cameras.” And that’s when the footage cuts off.
So, obviously after being needlessly aggressive and threatening the life of a handcuffed suspect, choking out a fellow officer who tried to stop him, and then dubiously demanding all officers turn off their body cams so he could do God knows what, Pullease was immediately fired and arrested for his violent and criminal behavior.
Nah, I’m bullsh*ting—he was suspended with pay pending an investigation that apparently still hasn’t concluded five months later.
Sunrise police suspended Pullease, who has been with the department for over 21 years, in November with pay after launching an internal investigation into his behavior. The Broward County State Attorney’s Office launched a criminal probe into the sergeant in January. Yarborough said that the department is working with State Attorney Harold Pryor’s office and has paused its internal investigation due to the criminal allegations.
“The need to withhold audio has run its course,” the spokesperson said. “Once the investigation is complete, the finding will be available.”
The spokesperson, of course, didn’t explain why the audio needed to be withheld at all, considering the fact that the silent video had already been released.
It’s unclear where law enforcement is in the investigation into Pullease’s actions or what criminal charges he will face if any, but what is clear is that it is damn hard to get a cop immediately locked up no matter how clear it is that he deserves to be.
Imagine if Similien was the one who grabbed a cop’s neck. There’d be no investigation on it because that man would be in the ground right now.