Investigators are trying to determine if Sgt. Christopher Pullease, a 21-year veteran of the Sunrise Police Department, should face criminal charges after assaulting a female colleague on film.
The incident, which took place on Nov. 19, was captured by two other officers’ body cameras. However, the footage was not released until local ABC-affiliate WSVN began investigating the situation following a tip, the station reports.
In the clip, which shows the assault from two angles, Pullease can be seen leaning into the backseat of a squad car, where a handcuffed Black suspect is sitting. As his interaction with the suspect seems to escalate, a woman in uniform attempts to intervene by grabbing the sergeant’s belt and pulling him backwards.
Without hesitation, Pullease spins around, grabs her throat and pushes her back several steps, as other policemen standby. He then returns to the vehicle before saying something to the female officer while pointing at her, then walking away.
The sound in the video has been muted and all but faces except that of Pullease have been blurred, as the incident remains under internal investigation. Pullease was placed on desk duty on Nov. 25.
Authorities have not released the name of the woman who was assaulted. However, WSVN confirmed her to be a 28-year-old who joined the force around summer 2019.
“I find this behavior to be disgusting,” says Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa. “I think the video speaks for itself. The initial contact between the sergeant and the officer was his hand against her throat.”
He commended the woman for intervening, adding that this is exactly the kind of inter-department accountability communities expect of their police officers. Rosa went on to explain that his office is investigating certain details of the incident to determine if Pullease should be charged.
According to RawStory, Pullease has been accused of using excessive force on two separate occasions. He was cleared in both instances.