Jacksonville officer arrested for battery on a suspect

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been arrested and charged with battery for hitting a handcuffed suspect multiple times during an arrest early Saturday.

JSO announced the arrest of Officer Timothy James at a 1 p.m. news briefing at the Police Memorial Building.

Undersheriff Pat Ivey said it all began just after 4 a.m. Saturday at a gas station in the 1900 block of Atlantic Blvd.

James, who was driving a marked car with a cage in the back, was responding to assist a sergeant in the arrest of two teens, ages 17 and 18, who were wanted for crimes in another jurisdiction.

Both of the teenagers were handcuffed and placed in the back of James' cruiser awaiting transport.

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As the sergeant was working inside his own vehicle, he reportedly saw Officer James remove the 17-year-old out of the vehicle, take him down to the ground and get into a physical struggle with him.

During the scuffle, the second suspect jumped out of the car and was also taken down to the ground by James, according to narrative provided by Undersheriff Ivey.

The sergeant separated the suspects and directed Officer James to put the 17-year-old back into back seat of his caged car.

According to JSO, Officer James got into the car with the handcuffed suspect and began punching him with a closed fist.

The sergeant repeatedly asked him to stop and immediately reported the incident to JSO supervisors, Ivey said.

The teen suffered obvious signs of injury to his face, according to the undersheriff.

Officer James was arrested several hours later. He did not give a statement but, Ivey says, "claims the individual spit at him."

"It's an inappropriate response," Undersheriff Ivey said adding that the use of force has to be proportionate to the resistance in any situation.

Criminal proceedings against Smith have begun and will be completed before administrative review can begin, according to JSO.

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James has been with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for nearly three and a half year.

If he decides to return to work, Ivey said, he'll be placed in an administrative position. "He has been defrocked," Ivey explained.

Officer James is the seventh JSO employee arrested this year. There were 11 JSO employees arrested last year.