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Fla. deputy suspended for excessive force


May 04, 2007
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Fla. deputy suspended for excessive force

The Associated Press
P1 expert Richard Weinblatt on the Hillsborough traffic stop incident

TAMPA, Fla. — A sheriff's deputy was suspended for five days for using excessive force when arresting a woman speeding to the emergency room because she thought her father had suffered a heart attack.

Deputy Kevin Stabins, 29, pulled over Melissa Langston, 37, for speeding as she was pulling into the University Community Hospital parking lot in November.

Footage from the cruiser's dashboard camera shows Langston telling the deputy that her father had suffered a heart attack and had driven himself to the hospital. Stabins took her license and registration and returned to his car to write a ticket.

But after several minutes, Langston took off and drove into the parking lot. After a short pursuit, Stabins pulled Langston out of her car and handcuffed her.

When he pulls her out of the car, he got her in an arm lock that left bruises, spun her around, and slams her against her car's hood hard enough her feet leave the ground, the St. Petersburg Times reported Thursday, citing the video from the dashboard camera.

"Please let me see my dad, " she sobs as he handcuffs her. "If it was your dad ..." Stabins cuts her off. "Now you're not going to see him, 'cause you're going to jail."

The father, William Johnston, stayed in the hospital six days, his wife, Mary Johnston, told the St. Petersburg Times for Thursday's editions. He went home with two stents in his arteries.

It was not clear when the suspension takes place. The sheriff's office did not return a message left early Thursday by The Associated Press.

The Sheriff's Office has dropped all charges against Langston, who was clocked going 63 mph in a 35-mph zone.

"I think (Stabins) understands that he was wrong and could have handled it better," Sheriff David Gee told The Tampa Tribune for Thursday's editions. "On both sides, really, it could have been done better."

 




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