WELLINGTON, Fla. – A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy is coming under fire after cellphone footage posted on social media by high-powered civil rights attorney Ben Crump shows him questioning a man’s freedom of speech during an arrest over the weekend.
The video begins after the man, identified as Kevin Demitri Wygant, 19, is already in handcuffs.
“Yes, I do have the freedom of speech,” Wygant is heard telling the deputy.
“Not to us, you don’t,” the deputy responds.
“Oh, I don’t have the freedom of speech to you?” Wygant asks.
Police can’t take away your 1st amendment right to freedom of speech! This Palm Beach cop arrested Kevin after he witnessed a fight & said “I’ll show you what f***ing freedom of speech is!” Only trying to help, Kevin was ARRESTED for trespassing. This is UNACCEPTABLE behavior!! pic.twitter.com/H6mRgiuD9y— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 17, 2020
The deputy then pushes Wygant against a wall while saying close to his ear, “I’ll show you what f***ing freedom of speech is.”
According to a probable cause affidavit, the deputy responded to a Tijuana Flats restaurant in Wellington Saturday night after management requested that several people be removed from the property because they were causing a disturbance.
Authorities said Wygant was asked several times to leave the front of the restaurant, but he kept returning.
He was arrested on a charge of trespass after warning.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that another person was arrested on charges of trespass after warning, disorderly intoxication, resisting without violence and obstruction.
Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the deputy involved in Wygant’s arrest has been placed on administrative leave.
“We have identified the Deputy who responded to the disturbance that occurred yesterday evening at a restaurant in the Village of Wellington,” she said in an email. “Sheriff Bradshaw does not condone the behavior of our deputy and takes this matter very seriously. He has requested an internal affairs investigation into this incident. Our deputy has been placed on administrative leave until the conclusion of this investigation.”
According to Crump, Wygant was arrested after he witnessed a fight.
“This is UNACCEPTABLE behavior!!” Crump tweeted.