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A Seminole County deputy is off the force after being captured on video punching a handcuffed suspect in the face, according to Sheriff Donald Eslinger. Deputy Michael O’Connor resigned after the Jan. 12 incident, came to light on March 18, Eslinger said.
Eslinger said the victim of the punch was a domestic violence suspect, who is seen in the video kicking the doors of the deputy’s cruiser. The man was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Eslinger added.
Authorities said O’Connor was also heard on the video threatening to kill the suspect.
“We have a strong and long-standing relationship with the community we serve, and my commitment is to always be transparent with, and accountable to, our residents,” Eslinger said in a release. “O’Connor’s actions were not just a violation of policy and law, they were also contrary to our agency’s core values. His behavior was completely inappropriate and totally inconsistent with what is expected of a deputy sheriff at our agency.”
Eslinger said an investigation was launched into O’Connor when the State Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and spotted the incident on video. O’Connor was suspended March 21 and resigned March 24 after refusing to cooperate with authorities.
He has been charged with one count of battery, a first-degree misdemeanor, on Wednesday. The case will be prosecuted by the Office on the State Attorney.
Eslinger said O’Connor was suspended for 30 days in August for being verbally abusive to a different domestic violence suspect.
O’Connor had been employed with the sheriff’s office since October 2013 as a deputy assigned to the patrol division.
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