LARGO (CBSMiami) – A Largo police officer was fired Tuesday following an internal affairs investigation of video that appears to show him grabbing a 17-year-old boy by the neck.
According to a case report, 43-year-old Brian Livernois was accused of using inappropriate force and violating a policy regarding rude behavior or profane language.
Largo Police Chief Jeffrey Undestad said the situation warranted the officer’s termination after an internal investigation found he had violated department policy.
“We take great pride in the positive relationship the Largo Police Department has with our community,” Undestad wrote in an email. “Actions like this are not acceptable and violate the public’s trust, which every employee has worked so hard to earn.”
Livernois had been employed since November 2012.
Largo police said it became aware in early April of the video posted to Facebook and YouTube titled “WHITE LARGO FLORIDA COP CHOKES BLACK TEEN.” It shows Livernois approaching the teen and asking to put something out.
“Do you want to buck up on me dude?” Livernois is heard asking. “Do you have a problem with me?”
What the video doesn’t show, according to Livernois, was him responding to a battery call when a man allegedly jumped out of a car and said he was going to shoot someone.
According to police documents, Livernois indicated the same male was accused of hitting a female and that he and several others were seen running down Melody Lane in Largo. The officer comes up to the group with his cruiser lights on and thereafter, the video picks up the rest of the officer’s narrative.
The teen is heard responding back to the officer, “Do you have a problem with me?”
Livernois said, “Yeah, I do.”
Livernois told the teen to keep his hands out of his pockets and said, “I’ll f****** jack you up right now. Do you understand that?” in response to the teen telling the officer, “My hands aren’t in my pockets, they’re in my shorts, you scared?”
Livernois claimed the teen tensed up and became aggressive, pulling away from him.
According to police documents, Livernois said he grabbed the teen’s shoulders and “he turned his body facing me as it appeared he was going to fight me.”
Another voice off camera is heard saying, “Don’t resist … Don’t resist.”
To “gain compliance,” Livernois said he put his hand behind the teen’s head and told him to “calm the f*** down.”
Livernois stated he “released the pressure point manipulation under the jaw after one or two seconds … No other force was used.” Livernois appears to be seen turning the teen to position him against the hood of his cruiser, with one hand around his neck and another under his jaw.
Another man in a red shirt tries to pull the officer off the teen, and a scuffle ensues. “You’re going to jail,” Livernois says.
In an interview with Livernois about the incident, a sergeant questioned him about working with the teen.
“Do you remember what you’re describing? What you did in the video, do you remember that ever being taught in defense tactics?” the sergeant asks.
“No,” Livernois responds, according to a transcript.
Livernois arrested the teen for resisting arrest and the man in the red shirt for an assault on a law enforcement officer charge, documents show.
The 17-year-old boy’s mom thinks on top of losing his job, the officer should be charged. She says the proof is in the video.
“If my son would’ve hit you, he would’ve got charged,” Ann Arnold said. “Why are you not being charged?”
Arnold thinks her son’s charge of resisting arrest should be dropped, too, and claims he was not armed.
“That was unnecessary,” Arnold said. “Why would you use force when he’s not doing nothing, he’s not talking crap to you, he’s not in your face, he’s not hitting you, nothing?”
The police union declined to comment on the firing .http://cbsloc.al/2N2WXJc