Sunrise leaders clash over sergeant choke video

A Sunrise city commission meeting turned contentious Tuesday night over the video that has since gone viral showing a veteran sergeant putting his hands around the throat of a female officer.

SUNRISE, Fla. – Tensions flared during a Sunrise city commission meeting Tuesday night, with Commissioner Joseph Scutto and Deputy Mayor Mark Douglas getting into a heated exchange over the video where a police sergeant is seen putting his hands on an officer’s throat.

“Joey, shut up!” Douglas was heard saying.

“Don’t tell me to shut up!” Scutto replied.

“I’m telling you to shut up!”

“What are you going to do?”

The clash came after about a half-hour of civil discussion about the incident.

“The fact was a 911 call came over of a piece of [expletive] beating up somebody,” Scutto said.

To which Douglas interjected: “Are you blaming the guy that got arrested for this?”

On Nov. 19, Sgt. Christopher Pullease, a 21-year veteran of the Sunrise Police Department, was seen on police bodyworn camera video putting his hands on a female officer’s throat.

The officer was trying to intervene and de-escalate a tense situation involving Pullease during an arrest. She pulled him by his belt and he turned and grabbed her neck.

Last week, Pullease was placed on administrative leave with pay after criminal allegations have been uncovered due to an internal affairs investigation.

The dispute in Wednesday’s city meeting came after local Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Negron approached Sunrise’s mayor and commissioners to defend a letter he sent to them asking for Police Chief Anthony Rosa to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into the incident.

“You have our juror stating that the subject person did certain things inappropriate, discussing wrong, and in any trial, if you heard that from a juror, you would recuse him immediately. And that’s where the letter comes into play,” Negron said. “There should be someone else that he could push that off to, to pass those final determinations.”

Local 10 News has reached out to commissioners and the mayor for comment after the meeting. Mayor Michael Ryan declined to speak any further, saying he made his comments during the meeting.

Negron said he doesn’t have anything further to add.

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.