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Lee County deputy elbows teen suspect: neighbor says deputy should be let go

Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 11:44:40-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A neighbor of the teen suspect seen in cell phone video being elbowed in the face by a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy is speaking out about what happened.
"He needs to be fired, no doubt about it,” neighbor, Joe Binns said. “I was disgusted, I mean the kid wasn’t doing much of anything.”
Binns thinks deputy Blake Grossi should be fired.
Since the video surfaced last week, LCSO placed deputy Grossi on administrative leave.
Certified expert on police force from FGCU, Dr. David Thomas said what Grossi is accused of doing was out of line.
“There is literally no need for force in this incident because the kid was not resisting, there is no kicking, there is no hitting anybody,” said Dr. Thomas. “There is nothing, he is just standing there.”
Dr. Thomas said Grossi could be facing suspension or termination, depending on his history at the sheriff’s office.
Dr. Thomas is also a senior research fellow with the National Police Foundation.
He said the deputy probably used excessive force out of anger and frustration.
“Often times what happens is the officer or deputy’s adrenaline is going so much, it’s hard for them to shut down and decompress,” Dr. Thomas said.
Fox 4 obtained the LCSO incident report explaining how deputies were there to arrest the 17-year-old for violating his probation.
Deputies said the boy was kicking the door in the patrol car.
After warning him a few times to stop, a deputy pepper sprayed him.
The boy then apologized and a deputy helped rinse his eyes off with water.
What the report leaves out is how seconds later, deputy Grossi allegedly elbowing the teen in the face.
“The fact that he is 17 years old, someone like a police officer is doing that, it doesn’t matter that it’s probation violation, there’s no need for that,” said Binns. “He was already restrained, it was pretty much done and over with.”
Dr. Thomas said in this case, the suspect was already handcuffed, and the situation was over. There was no need for excessive force.
He said the other deputies in the video were likely in shock but questions what they did afterwards.
Did those other deputies go to a supervisor, internal affairs or bring up the incident before the video was posted online?
At this time, Fox 4 is working to get more details on the incident.