Sparks fly at city meeting after police union defends Florida cop who choked colleague

A police union is coming to the defense of a veteran sergeant who was caught on video choking a female colleague after she tried to de-escalate a Black man's arrest.

Sunrise, Fla. police Sgt. Christopher Pullease, who was placed on administrative leave following the incident, is now under criminal investigation.

Body cam video showed Pullease, 46, threatening a Black suspect with pepper spray, and engaging in a verbal altercation with him, after he'd already been taken into custody and placed in the back of a patrol car.

After a 28-year-old female officer grabbed Pullease by the back of his belt and tried to pull him away, he turned around and briefly put his hand around her throat, before grabbing her by the vest and pushing her against another patrol car.

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During a Sunrise City Commission meeting on Tuesday, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police took issue with recent comments by Police Chief Anthony Rosa, who called Pullease's conduct "disgusting" in an interview with Miami's Channel 7.

“It’s not about Chief Rosa’s exclusive interview with Channel 7, it’s more about the investigation itself,” Fraternal Order of Police President Steven Negron told the commission.

“He’s, in a way, our only juror,” Negron said, calling for Chief Rosa to be removed from the investigation. “You have our juror stating that the subject person did certain things inappropriate, disgusting, wrong, and in any trial if you heard that from a juror, you would recuse him immediately.”

Commissioners rejected Negron's request, noting that the chief is also being criticized for not acting swiftly enough. Sunrise Mayor Micheal Ryan even compared the case to George Floyd's murder.

"When it seemed like a civil discussion was beginning to wrap up, tensions started to spiral out of control," Channel 7 reports.

Commissioner Joseph Scuotto made comments defending Pullease, saying the case had been "spun in a way that's so ridiculous." Scuotto also reportedly called the suspect in the arrest that led to the incident a "piece of sh*t," and said the case has nothing to do with George Floyd.

Commissioner Mark Douglas, who is Black, responded by asking Scuotto if he was blaming the incident on the suspect.

"I'm sure George Floyd was a piece of sh*t who caused it, too," Douglas said. "What are you defending? ... Shut up, Joey."

“Don’t tell me to shut up,” Scuotto responded.

“I’m telling you to shut up,” Douglas said.

“What are you going to do?" Scuotto responded. "Don’t tell me to shut up. Who do you think you are? A tough guy?”

According to Channel 7, the commission "quickly took a recess after all of that."

"The internal investigation, as well as criminal investigation, is still ongoing," the station reported.

Watch the report below.

Meeting looking into Sunrise Police sergeant who grabbed female officer by throat gets heated