FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the BSO deputy who was caught on camera punching a handcuffed inmate has been fired.
During a news conference held Wednesday morning, Tony announced the internal affairs investigation into Jorge Sobrino’s actions has been concluded.
Sobrino was charged in June with one count of misdemeanor battery after footage from his body camera showed him punching 26-year-old David Rafferty O’Connell at Broward Health North Medical Center on Jan. 2.
He was also seen bending O’Connell’s arm backwards and saying, “Yeah, I just hit you again.”
O’Connell was arrested for allegedly fighting with an employee at a Walmart in Pompano Beach. Officials said the altercation took place in the parking lot of the large retailer.
Sobrino wrote in his arrest report that the “defendant intentionally placed his hand on my upper chest against my will and pushed me, therefore committing a battery against my person.”
He was placed on suspended leave without pay when the charges were announced.
After the internal affairs investigation, the BSO committee recommended a 30-day suspension for Sobrino, but Tony, who was not sheriff at the time of the incident, decided to relieve him of his duties.
“I cannot support a discipline action of 30 days of suspension, and so he was terminated under my command, under my orders,” said Tony. “We cannot allow for a small fraction, that 0.001% of deputies who may step out of line, who may violate policy, to be reflective of an agency of 5,500 employees.”
Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said he is disappointed Sobrino was fired and not suspended.
“We’re also disappointed that he chose to move forward with an internal affairs and concluded before the criminal trial,” said Bell.
Broward Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, whose office brought the bodycam video to light, said he hopes the firing sends a message.
“Hopefully, it will act as a deterrent for officers who want to engage in that kind of misconduct,” he said.
If found guilty of the misdemeanor battery charge, Sobrino could face up to a year behind bars.
The deputy’s union representatives are appealing his firing.
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