The tiny town of Sunrise, Florida, is under a cloud after one of its cops was criminally charged with assaulting officer who tried to stop him from assaulting a man who was in their custody.
Sgt. Christopher Pullease was charged by Broward County prosecutors with battery on a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence, assault on a law enforcement officer and assault on a civilian stemming from an incident that was caught by body cameras and made public back in November 2021.
In that video, a female officer is seen trying to pull Pullease away from a man who is handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police cruiser. Pullease, who was not one of the original officers on the scene, goes immediately to the car where the man was handcuffed reaches in and points pepper spray at him.
Several other male officers are on the scene and demonstrated their, uh, bravery, by doing absolutely nothing while a woman officer runs over and pulls Pullease away by his belt. Pullease, who is significantly larger than the unidentified woman officer, turning his rage on his colleague, grabbing her by the throat and shoving her, because how dare she not let me use a chemical irritant on a restrained man?
Of course, none of her male colleagues comes to her aid. Pullease eventually walks away, but not before pointing his pepper spray at the woman, shoving her against a car and pointing his finger in her face in a threatening manner.
In an interview with WSVN 7News at the time, Sunrise police chief Anthony Rosa called Pullease’s behavior “disgusting,” “inappropriate and unprofessional.”
“What he did is he escalated the situation when calm was actually required,” Rosa said. Ya think?
If you’re under the impression at this point that the charges brought against Pullease are a step toward justice, consider the range of punishments he faces according to the Broward County State Attorney’s office. For felony battery on a law enforcement officer—who was armed and surrounded by other cops—he faces a maximum of five years. Tack on another potential year in jail for assault of that same officer.
Surely, his attempt to assault a handcuffed man already in police custody—a clear abuse of Pullease’s power against a person with no ability to defend himself—comes with an even stiffer penalty, right? Y’all already know where this is headed.
For pointing his pepper spray at a handcuffed and detained man— “assault on a civilian” per the prosecutor’s office—Pullease faces a whole 60 days in jail.
And one last note for those who will jump in my inbox this morning with notes about how this doesn’t represent all police, a few bad apples and all other manner of nonsense: consider that a USA Today investigation found more than 300 cases of cops around the country who were retaliated against after blowing the whistle on their colleagues for violence and other misconduct.
The city of Boston just hired a new police chief who back in the 1990s sued the department he now leads after his own colleagues jumped him in an alley. None of them were ever charged, and some are still on the same police force.