Bradford County Deputy Jacob Desue has been called to resign after pulling his gun on a pregnant woman during a traffic stop, according to First Coast News. Her children witnessed the horrifying scene from the backseat. The county sheriff was left shocked by the deputy’s actions after viewing the video footage.
The report says Ebony Washington was signaled to pull over for speeding. She kept driving until she got to a well-lit area that also wasn’t near the highway. Deputy Desue took issue with that and refused to hear her explanation when he confronted her, yelling at her to “shut up.” The exchange got so intense, Washington told her children in the backseat to record on their phones.
More on the incident from First Coast News:
First Coast News sat down with Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith, who forced Desue to resign Thursday morning.
Smith said Washington did everything right — including putting on her hazard lights and slowing down — which is exactly what law enforcement advises any driver to do if they don’t feel safe.
“She tries to explain herself,” Smith continued. “Deputy Desue is having none of it. He doesn’t deescalate from that demeanor, of being hyper, at that point, of giving those verbal commands. He plainly tells her, ‘I don’t want to hear that excuse. I don’t want to hear it.’ And she was very ladylike, trying to explain her situation. She’s got three children in a car. She tells him that she’s pregnant. And he tells her numerous times he doesn’t want to hear it.”
The sheriff also noted that instead of using any form of deescalation tactics, the deputy remained stubborn and maintained an intimidating demeanor during the entire interaction. After viewing the footage, Smith said Desue was shown the door. “We knew that this was something that we had to take action on immediately. We accepted his resignation. He’s no longer an employee of this agency,” said Smith.
On the other side, Washington struggled to make sense of the incident. In her interview with First Coast News, she said she couldn’t imagine why things turned out the way they did.
“-In my mind I couldn’t imagine why he was so aggressive. When I mentioned I had my 3 kids in the car, I couldn’t imagine why he continued to hold the gun,” she said. “None of this would have happened had I not been speeding.”
It’s so easy for us Black women to feel responsible for things that aren’t our fault. Washington didn’t try to flee the scene. She didn’t curse Desue out nor did she resist arrest or any of the deputy’s commands. The burden of simply being pulled over feels heavier because Washington probably knew that her life was in jeopardy all while her children were watching.