SUNRISE, Fla. – A Sunrise police officer caught on video putting his hands on another officer’s throat was arrested Thursday on multiple charges, including battery on a police officer.
Christopher Pullease, 47, was also charged with tampering with evidence, plus separate charges of assault on an officer and assault.
Pullease bonded out of the Broward County Jail Wednesday evening but did not answer any questions while running from Local 10 News cameras.
The incident in question happened last year on Nov. 19 and the body camera video surfaced in January.
Officers were called to a convenience store along Sunset Strip. They say Jean Bernard Similien battered several people and officers were trying to place him in a patrol car.
According to Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa, Similien was resisting officers.
Rosa went on to say in a written statement that, “Once the suspect was inside the patrol vehicle, the sergeant approached and engaged in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional. This supervisor escalated the encounter instead of de-escalating an emotionally charged situation.”
Rosa also says while speaking to the suspect, the sergeant is seen holding his can of pepper spray but didn’t use it.
That’s when a nearby officer who was concerned with things escalating further intervened.
In the video, she can be seen running to Pullease, grabbing him by his belt and pulling him backwards, away from the suspect inside the police vehicle.
Pullease then turns and aggressively grabs the officer by the neck while pushing her backwards.
Sgt. Pullease is then seen on video going back to the squad car and slamming the door before pointing and yelling back at the officer who was trying to deescalate the situation.
Pullease was relieved of duty following the incident.
Sunrise police released a statement following Pullease’s arrest Thursday evening.
It reads, in part: “Sergeant Pullease has been on administrative leave throughout the course of the investigation. Further determination with regards to the employment of Sergeant Pullease will be made in accordance with Florida State Statute 112.532, due process, and the collective bargaining agreement.”
The Broward State Attorney’s office also issued a statement.
“The sergeant is accused of intentionally touching or striking the female police officer against her will, assaulting her by holding pepper spray up to her face, and assaulting the civilian male by holding pepper spray to his face,” it said, in part. “If convicted, the maximum possible penalties are five years in state prison for felony battery on a law enforcement officer, one year for assaulting a law enforcement officer, and 60 days for assault on a civilian.”
The statement went on to say that Pullease “is also accused of tampering with evidence, his cellphone, in January of this year. If convicted, the maximum possible penalty is five years in state prison.”