‘Just terrible’: Pinellas County corrections sergeant arrested for attacking inmate, sheriff says

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Department of Detention and corrections sergeant has been arrested after violently attacking an inmate.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Patrick Knight pushed Terrell Johnson to the ground and slammed him to where he hit his head on the cement.

Knight then grabbed Johnson’s hair, pinned him against the wall, slapped and punched him in the face.

At one point, Gualtieri said Knight pulled on Johnson’s hair so hard a clump of hair came out.

Knight resigned following the attack. The sheriff said it doesn’t get much worse than this.

“Just terrible, it almost makes you speechless because you don’t what to say,” Gualtieri said. “It’s so terrible and wrong and everything we don’t stand for and what we don’t do.”

Knight resigned from the sheriff’s office last Monday. The sheriff says Knight lied in the incident report, and there were inconsistencies in his story.

He added, a corporal who witnessed the attack wasn’t honest at first, but hours later, told a lieutenant Knight was wrong and he hit Johnson with no lawful base for his actions.

The sheriff says the internal investigation into the corporal regarding policy violations will continue.

“What we want to see is someone stop it to begin with and then come forward must faster and not have to think about what the right thing to do is,” Gualtieri said.

The sheriff admitted Monday, this incident set them back, but all they can do is hold Sergeant Knight accountable.

“This isn’t who we are, this isn’t what we do, this isn’t what this profession is all about, and hopefully it doesn’t replicate itself,” Gualtieri said. “Anybody here or any law enforcement agency who thinks they’re above the law is just flat out wrong and don’t do it.”

Knight has been charged with battery and official misconduct.

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