Florida cop charged with battery quits after video surfaces of him hitting handcuffed man
A former Seminole County, Florida sheriff’s deputy resigned from his position and was charged with battery after his supervisors learned only recently about footage of him hitting a man handcuffed inside a patrol car, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Sheriff Don Eslinger criticized Michael O’Connor’s actions during a press conference on Tuesday, saying that O’Connor “not only violated the law, he violated our policies and procedures.”
“This is not who we are,” Eslinger said.
The footage of O’Connor hitting 25-year-old Jonathan Lynch was captured on another deputy’s dash cam video on Jan. 12, but according to WFTV-TV, Eslinger did not learn about the incident until March 18 because Lynch originally identified the wrong officer to investigators.
The video shows Lynch inside the vehicle after being arrested for allegedly punching his mother. The Sentinel reported that the victim was bleeding from the mouth when authorities arrived.
Lynch is seen asking for water and kicking at the vehicle doors. O’Connor tells him he will get some water if Lynch “calms down.” However, Lynch instead kicks again and says, “Get me water motherf*cker.”
O’Connor then grabs him by the shirt and tells Lynch to “chill the f*ck out,” adding, “I’m going to f*cking kill you right now, you understand?”
“Where’s the water?” Lynch asks. “I want the water.”
O’Connor is then seen pushing Lynch before reaching inside and hitting him in the face. He was placed on administrative leave after the video came to light, and resigned from the department on March 24.
The Florida state attorney’s office declined to file charges against Lynch in connection with the incident that led to his encounter with O’Connor. However, Lynch is on probation for assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Eslinger said that O’Connor had already been suspended for 30 days last August for verbally abusing the victim in another domestic violence incident.
Watch WFTV’s report on the charges against O’Connor below.