Video shows excessive force incident that got BSO deputy fired

Sheriff Gregory Tony said Friday Deputy Ronald Thurston was fired over an excessive force incident involving a disarmed suspect in 2020.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is out of a job after he was fired for the use of excessive force.

A release from Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said that there have been “inaccurate” reports about the termination of veteran BSO deputy Ronald Thurston, however, it is not clear what those reports are.

On Friday, BSO released body camera footage of an incident that happened in April of 2020 when deputies responded to a call in North Lauderdale.

“Thurston had every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, yet he chose not to. Thurston kept his knee on the man’s neck, even after he expressed discomfort and asked Thurston to remove his knee,” Tony said in a statement released on Friday.

According to BSO, deputies were in the 100 block of San Remo Boulevard as part of a follow-up investigation into a prior crime. “After making contact with the individual, the man initially refused to cooperate with Thurston’s lawful commands and attempted to flee.”

That’s when BSO says Thurston pulled his gun and threatened to shoot the man. The suspect then complied and got on the ground face down.

“At that point,” according to BSO, “Thurston had every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, yet he chose not to.”

The investigation also said Thurston kept his knee on the man’s neck, even after the man said it was uncomfortable and that he wanted the deputy to remove his knee.

When backup deputies arrived, they did a pat-down of the man, later identified as Isaiah Darcisse, 22, and found he had a gun in his pocket.

But, BSO said despite the man being handcuffed and a “situation under control,” Thurston struck the man with his arm and slammed his head into a BSO vehicle.

“Once Internal Affairs learned of the use of force incident, BSO Public Corruption Unit detectives immediately began investigating. They turned their case findings over to the Broward State Attorney’s Office on Sept. 22, 2020, for possible criminal charges. The State Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Thurston. The administrative investigation resumed and, once completed, was sent to BSO’s Professional Standards Committee (PSC). The PSC recommended a three-day suspension for Thurston.”

But Tony’s statement concluded that: “Thurston acted in a manner outside the bounds of proper and effective law enforcement and should be terminated. His actions were egregious and do not reflect our agency’s training and de-escalation tactics. His actions show that he possesses neither the temperament nor the decision-making ability to wear a badge and carry a gun.”

Tony said that equally concerning was a statement that Thurston made: “When asked if he could do things differently in the future Thurston said, ‘I probably would have killed him right there, and we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it.’ "

Thurston would have marked 23 years for the sheriff’s office in April.

Read the internal affairs report

Related record: Thurston’s employee history

Broward Sheriff's Office employee history for Ronald Thurston (BSO)

About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.