Mother accuses St. Johns County deputies of police brutality against her son

Mother accuses St. Johns County deputies of police brutality against her son

St. Johns County — A mother is accusing St. Johns County deputies of police brutality against her son, Christopher Butler.

Action News Jax reporter Dani Bozzini spoke to the mother, who says her son was seriously hurt, and he didn’t deserve what was done to him.

Teri Morgenstern claims her son was not resisting arrest or fighting the officers as the police report reads.

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The police report says Butler kicked a deputy’s leg and was hitting, kicking and even biting a deputy.

Butler’s mother said that a video given to her by a witness shows what happened after her son was pulled over.

“I’m his mom, and he’s hurt, and they did it. Christopher didn’t fight back. You saw the video – Did you ever, for once, see him hit, kick or anything? No,” Morgenstern said.

She said her son had to be taken to the ICU, and she wants justice.

Christopher Butler spoke exclusively to Action News Jax over the phone saying he wasn’t trying to resist arrest.

He said he wasn’t feeling well when he saw the police lights behind him.

Instead of pulling over, he says he was just trying to get to his exit, which was the Daily’s on 210, so he could give his girlfriend back her car.

He says he never got the chance to explain that before he was yanked from his car by deputies.

“He was beaten badly by the cops and it was taken way too far,” Morgenstern said.

She says she wants answers after she says her son was beaten by St. Johns County deputies Dec. 29 for no legitimate reason. And she believes she has the video to prove it.

“They kicked him in the face, that’s the last thing Christopher remembers,” Morgenstern said.

Morgenstern gave us a FHP dashcam video. In it you can see and hear FHP attempting to pull Butler over for about seven minutes.

The arrest report says he was driving 15 mph on the highway. He finally stopped behind the Daily’s on 210.

His mom says he was very sick.

“He was in trouble. He needed help that night. He didn’t need to be beaten,” Morgenstern said.

It’s what happened after Butler finally pulled over, that Morganstern believes was uncalled for.

Morgenstern gave Action News Jax a copy of video she says is from an eyewitness. In it she says it shows deputies repeatedly hitting her son and him not fighting back.

Maxim Shulzhenkl says he saw part of it happen. He says it was tough to see what was going on but he heard a lot.

“I heard several tasing sounds, I heard some hitting noises, I definitely heard the guy groaning in pain and whatnot. I heard the cops yelling orders, you know, get on the ground, stop resisting.”

In the arrest report, the deputy claims Butler refused to get out of the vehicle stating: “Christopher refused to comply with any of our repeated commands. Christopher continued to punch, kick, and bite during the entire ordeal.”

“The kid was laying on the ground or being docked up against a car. Christopher didn’t fight back at all,” Morgenstern said.

She believes the deputies should be fired over this.

Action News Jax spoke to the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office about this incident.

The Sheriff’s Office said they are taking this matter seriously. Three deputies have since been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.