The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office fired a detention deputy for using excessive force on an inmate, and lying about it.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the termination of Deputy Elizabeth Kretzer, 40, over an incident that happened while she was on duty in December of 2012 at the Pinellas County Jail.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Kretzer got into an "improper" verbal argument with a female inmate when the inmate tried to "collect an extra breakfast tray". Investigators say at the end of the argument, as Kretzer stepped away, the inmate flipped her off. The report states that Kretzer "direct[ed] the inmate to exit the housing unit". Once the two were in the vestibule, investigators say Kretzer challenged the woman to flip her off again, and she did.
According to the Sheriff's Office report, Kretzer "clutched the shoulder of the inmate's sweatshirt and pulled her out of the vestibule, through the corridor and into a visitation room. The action was done with sufficient force to cause the inmate to bounce off the detention deputy's body."
While in the visitation room, investigators say Kretzer hit the inmate across the side of her head with her hand. When Kretzer filed a report of the incident, investigators say she falsely claimed that the inmate grabbed her shirt, prompting her to slap the inmate "in order to create distance from her".
An internal affairs investigation found the touching of the inmate and the use of force was not justified.
Criminal charges are being investigated and will be referred to the State Attorney's Office for review.
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