It’s a good idea to try not to do anything that could lead to your arrest. But if you do find yourself unfortunate enough to be placed into police custody, take it from Florida DUI suspect James Duckworth: Don’t make any sudden movements; in fact, don’t even clear your throat in the presence of your captors.
Duckworth was being booked into the Marion County Jail on Oct. 8, after being arrested on suspicion of DUI. The suspect was taken to a room with a Breathalyzer without incident, according to an affidavit. But once the suspect was shoved into a chair next to the machine, corrections officer Charles Broaderick took offense with Duckworth’s attitude toward officers.
“You’re being treated how you’re acting. You’re acting like an asshole, you’re being treated as an asshole,” Broaderick told the suspect.
At that point, the obviously intoxicated Duckworth noted that only certain officers were treating him in the manner which Broaderick described, saying to another officer present, “You’re a gentleman.”
Moments later, Duckworth attempted to clear something from his lips. The resultant sound was misconstrued by Broaderick as an attempt to spit on officers, providing what the officer felt was justification for a heavy-handed response.
“Hey,” Broaderick exclaimed as he pulled Duckworth’s body away from the wall to increase force before slamming the suspect’s head into the concrete.
“You don’t spit at officers,” he continued.
Following the assault, Duckworth, who was bleeding from the head, veered in and out of consciousness as Broaderick pinned him to the wall and a spit mask was placed over his head.
Following a drawn-out investigation, initial claims by Broaderick and other officers at the scene that Duckworth initiated the assault by being aggressive toward the officers have been refuted by surveillance evidence.
Broaderick was arrested for assault on Tuesday, spending just 13 minutes in jail before posting his $2,000 bail.
“Employees of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are expected, and required, to maintain the highest level of integrity and accountability in our dealings with the public — including inmates incarcerated in the Marion County Jail,” a statement from the sheriff’s office read.
Broaderick is currently on unpaid leave pending further investigation, but sheriff’s office officials say that the video evidence alone is not enough to merit the officer’s full termination.