Suwannee County Sheriff's Office releases statement on video between deputy, citizen

Courtesy of MGN Online
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 31, 2019

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office has released a statement following the publication of a video online in which the publisher claims an SCSO deputy assaulted him.

"We are aware of a video that is circulating online that captured an exchange between a member of the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office and a citizen on Monday, January 28, 2019," the department posted to Facebook on Thursday. "As a result of that video, Sheriff St. John has ordered an internal affairs investigation to be conducted, and that member has been placed on administrative leave."

"Until this investigation is concluded, we cannot provide any further details," the post continued.

The video, which was published to YouTube on Wednesday, shows footage of downtown Live Oak, including the courthouse and the jail, then an SCSO deputy walks outside to make contact with the person filming.

"What are you doing?" the deputy is faintly heard asking. "Is that a camera? This is a secure location, you can't be doing that," he continued.

"Why would you be taking photos of the jail, anyway?" the deputy further asks.

The man behind the camera responds, "Just walking around, bored."

After saying that filming was prohibited due to the jail being a high-security area, the deputy is seen raising his hand to the camera, telling the man to, "Put the camera down."

The man immediately backs the camera away saying, "Are you going to assault me? Please don't assault me, sir. I didn't do anything wrong. Why are you assaulting me?"

The two then exchange words, with the man asking why he isn't allowed to film in public and to speak with a supervisor. You can hear the deputy continuing to ask him to stop filming in the secure area.

The man later claims assault by the deputy saying, "You assaulted me for no reason. You put your hands on me, did you not? You hit my hand with your hand, that's assault."

The deputy immediately walks inside for a brief moment before returning, saying the man will be arrested if he doesn't keep walking or stop filming.

Prior to the exchange with the deputy, the man filmed other locations, including the Suwannee County Courthouse and Tax Collectors Office. He then went to the jail, and filmed the lobby through the front door window.

The full video can be seen below.

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